Courtesy Harry Ransom Center
This year marks the 100th birthday of Tennessee Williams, the great angel-devil of American theater. To celebrate the centennial, the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas, has drawn upon its substantial Williams archive to produce Becoming Tennessee Williams, an exhibition exploring the transformation of Thomas Lanier Williams — born in Columbus, Miss., in 1911 — into arguably America’s greatest and most influential playwright.
Williams saw “the destructive impact of society on the nonconformist” as the great theme of his work, counting himself among society’s victims. Using original drafts and manuscripts, family photographs, correspondence and rare artifacts such as Marlon Brando’s address book from 1949 (which has attached to it a priceless anecdote), Becoming Tennessee Williams paints a sympathetic portrait of an artist discovering himself and finding within his own life the material for some of the greatest dramas of the century. Through July 31. www.hrc.utexas.edu