So far I’ve logged three books read since the start of the year: The Whole Town’s Talking, by Fannie Flagg, Period of Adjustment, a play by Tennessee Williams, and How to be Filled by the Holy Spirit, by A. W. Tozer. I heartily recommend all three titles, give them each 5 stars, so to speak. Wonderful writing and each touching the heart in different ways. When I look at the short list, I have to laugh–quite eclectic!
I read the play because I saw the movie, Period of Adjustment, which often airs on TCM at the Christmas holidays. I’d seen the film years ago and remembered I liked it, but now I truly admire the story and the acting. The film stars a very young Jane Fonda, young Jim Hutton, Anthony Franciosa, and Lois Nettleton. Each actor does a superb job; your heart opens to these characters, and you laugh, and cry, too.
Period of Adjustment is a subtle jewel of a story that Williams supposedly wrote in answer to the accusation that all of his stories were so dark. He called this a ‘serious comedy’. I think the phrase coined by William Saroyan suits: a human comedy. Several times I saw myself, and my husband and I. Williams surely based this on people around him–what a good eye and ear he had!
I was delighted to read a play for the first time that I can recall, start to finish. I sat all one Sunday afternoon, and yes, I read slowly, studying. The story does what I require of a story, which is to say delight and enthrall me. What Tennessee Williams could do with dialogue astounds me. After reading this play, I feel he must truly be one of the greatest writers of all time.
The film follows the play very closely, the dialogue almost word for word. However, there is an added last line in the film that struck me. I assume it was added by Isobel Lennart, who wrote the screenplay. I find it an inspired, even necessary addition to wrap up the story, and is delivered masterfully by Jane Fonda: “There is one good thing about marriage. There’s so much time…nothing has to depend on just one day…or one night. You always have another chance, both of you.”
I hope you are all reading things that delight and enthrall you, and help you see yourself, and maybe laugh.