Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Tennessee Williams (1911–1983) is considered one of the most prominent American playwrights of the twentieth century. He is a master of the Ibsen-type dramatic form, a writer of brilliant dialogues and, above all, a highly astute portrayer of complex human destinies and emotionally charged life situations. His 1955 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of the best drama texts in the genre of psychological and realist drama.
In this overall compelling drama, Williams portrays the world of primal human passions, deeply ingrained in the bodies of dramatic characters, in an extraordinarily suggestive and sovereign way. The drama depicts the egoism of basic survival instincts (material greed, emotional possession, sexual desire, etc.). These instincts are reckless and crude. However, because they occur within a seemingly orderly and cultivated world, they covertly express themselves. Williams gradually removes the veil of external smoothness, revealing its bestial and instinctual power. In the analysis of The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the playwright Vili Ravnjak pointed out the following: “Williams’ drama is about insincerity, fake politeness, seeming kindness as the toxic bedrock of a family environment. /… / Indeed, Williams’ group portrait of a psychopathic family setting, as depicted in the drama, is truly stunning! Namely, there are, in fact, very few psychologically healthy families, as the prerequisite for this is a high level of self-awareness and personal maturity, honesty, and mutual respect. Following the general rule of transference, parents usually project their psychopathologies onto their children, who eventually become their respective spitting images, which only leads to inevitable conflicts that remain mostly unresolved. The final stage of living in such an environment, as shown in Williams’ drama, would usually entail cancer, alcoholism (or other substance abuse) or suicide, which has not yet happened, although it is very likely.”
In his contribution, Tomaž Onič, a professor at the Faculty of Arts in Maribor (Department of English and American Studies), argues the following: “An in-depth discussion of the central topic, i. e. the concept of hypocrisy, goes far beyond simply judging that something is either right or wrong. Williams shows that this weakness is embedded in all relationships and – what is especially shocking – people condemn it only selectively. Namely, we condemn Gooper and Mae’s presence – at least at first glance – and perceive their intrigues as insidious and unjust. At the same time, we are willing to justify Brick’s insincerity in marriage, as well as his suppressed and unresolved relation to Skipper as a part of Brick’s burden and guilt, thus rendering him an Aristotelian tragic hero. Furthermore, even Maggie’s lie regarding her pregnancy can hardly bother us, as we are ready to accept it as a brilliant move that would turn the process of division of property in the ‘right direction’”.
Jan Krmelj, one of the most prominent directors of the younger generation, stated: “I read the text as a portrait of the egoism and narrow-mindedness that all members of the Pollitt family face. However, I also understand it as a sincerity defence, a condition of coexistence and absence of violence passed on like a torch over the centuries. The most important premise might be that the strongest factor in a conflict is self-denial, a problem that is inherently ours, but we still externalize it and pass it onto others, in whom we see the source of our pain. Yet, at the same time, William demands absolute sincerity from both viewers and actors, which is not reflected only in strong verbal sword-plays, thus generating the potential of emancipation, but above all in the possibility to (re)act differently or to say things in a simple way, to end the era of metaphysical mystery.”
Mačka na vroči pločevinasti strehi je uprizorjena s posebnim dovoljenjem University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.