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Summer at the Lake - Short Play, Drama

Summer at the Lake

Tennessee Williams

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Short Play, Drama

1m, 2f

ISBN: 9780811216203

Part of the collection Mister Paradise and Other One Act Plays

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Author | Reviews
: Mister Paradise and Other Plays

Minimum Fee: $45 per performance


Short Play


30 minutes

Time Period - 1930s

Settings Of Play - The living room of a summer cottage.


No intermission

Scene work, Competition or audition material

Interior Set

Period Costumes


Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Donald, a young author, is becoming restless under the weighty love of his overbearing and manipulative mother, Mrs. Fenway. When a letter from Donald's father announces that economic necessity will require selling the family's sumer home and cancelling Donald's summer plans, Mrs. Fenway takes to the chaise longue and succumbs to the inertia of St. Louis heat. According to his mother's growing worries, Donald lacks friends, daydreams too much, and is not living up to his potential to be a strong, socially prominent young man, but Mrs. Fenway herself suffers headaches, crying, and fainting with any mention of her own circumstances. When Donald finally goes out for a swim, he becomes the hero of his own life with a decision of whether or not he ever wants to go back inside.

Part of the collection Mister Paradise and Other One Act Plays


"Demonstrates skillfully how the hysteric turns herself into an event and forces her inner life into others. Donald’s psychic space is entirely colonized by his mother’s neediness... Donald is an early snapshot of [The Glass Menagerie's] Tom, for whom home is also “a hideous trap.” He goes swimming and keeps swimming. His mother scans the horizon and can’t bear to keep looking. 'Has Donald come back to shore yet?' she asks the maid, who indicts her with a glance. 'No,'the maid says. 'He didn’t come back.' " - The New Yorker

"A slice of the playwright's own experience... Glimmers of Williams's inimitable wit percolate, as when the young man scornfully describes his hatred of fire escapes: 'Don't they think people who live in apartments need to escape from anything besides fire?'... Bears the unmistakable hallmarks of Williams's style: it is compassionate, vivid, lyrical and true." - The New York Times

Summer at the Lake was written in 1937 under the title Escape and originally produced as such by the Shakespeare Theatre Company at the Kennedy Center in April 2004 under the direction of Michael Kahn.



1m, 2f

DONALD -  a boy of about seventeen
MRS. FENWAY - a fretful middle-aged woman
ANNA - an elderly servant
Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) explores passion with daring honesty, and forged a poetic theatre of raw psychological insight that shattered conventional proprieties and transformed the American stage. The autobiographical The Glass Menagerie brought what Mr. Williams called “the catastrophe of success,” a success capped by A Streetcar Named Desire, one of the most influential works of modern ... view full profile

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