Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Tennessee Williams

Thomas Lanier Williams III was born on 26 March, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, USA, in the home of his maternal grandfather, the local Episcopal rector. The home is now the Mississippi Welcome Center and tourist office for the city. Tennessee Williams’ middle name, Lanier, indicates his family’s Virginia connections to the artistic family from England. Thomas died on 25 February, 1983, at the age of 72 after he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. Tennessee Williams would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye.

Tennessee Williams’ funeral took place on Saturday 3 March, 1983 at St. Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church in New York City. Tennessee Williams’ body was interred in the Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. Tennessee Williams had long told his friends he wanted to be buried at sea at approximately the same place as the poet Hart Crane, as he considered Hart Crane to be one of his most significant influences.

Thomas better known as Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright who received many of the top theatrical awards. Tennessee Williams moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to “Tennessee,” the state of his father’s birth. Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition, The Glass Menagerie (1945) and The Night of the Iguana (1961) received New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards. Tennessee Williams’ 1952 play The Rose Tattoo received the Tony Award for best play.

By the time Thomas was 3, the family had moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi. At 5, he was diagnosed with a paralytic disease. It caused his legs to be paralyzed for nearly 2 years but his mother encouraged him to make up stories and read. Thomas’s mother gave him a typewriter when he was 13.

Tennessee’s father Cornelius Williams was a traveling salesman who became increasingly abusive as his children grew older. The father often favoured Tennessee’s brother Dakin, perhaps because of Tennessee’s illness and extended weakness and convalescence as a child. Tennessee’s mother Edwina Dakin Williams had aspirations as a genteel southern lady and was smothering. Edwina Williams may have had a mood disorder.

In 1918, when Tennessee Williams was 7, the family moved again, this time to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1927, at 16, Tennessee Williams won 3rd prize ($5.00) for an essay published in Smart Set entitled, “Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?” A year later, he published “The Vengeance of Nitocris” in Weird Tales.

In the early 1930s Tennessee Williams attended the University of Missouri, where he joined Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Tennessee Williams’ fraternity brothers dubbed him “Tennessee” for his rich southern drawl. In the late 1930s, Tennessee Williams transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri for a year, and finally earned a degree from the University of Iowa in 1938. By then, Tennessee Williams had written Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay!. This work was 1st performed in 1935 at 1780 Glenview in Memphis.

Tennessee Williams found inspiration in his problematic family for much of his writing.

Tennessee Williams lived for a time in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Tennessee Williams moved there in 1939 to write for the WPA. Tennessee Williams first lived at 722 Toulouse Street, the setting of his 1977 play Vieux Carré. The building is part of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Tennessee Williams began writing A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) while living at 632 St. Peter Street. Tennessee Williams finished it later in Key West, Florida, where he moved in the 1940s.

Tennessee Williams was close to his sister Rose, a slim beauty who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age. As was common then, Rose was institutionalized and spent most of her adult life in mental hospitals. When therapies were unsuccessful, she showed more paranoid tendencies. In an effort to treat her, Rose’s parents authorised a prefrontal lobotomy, a drastic treatment that was thought to help some mental patients who suffered extreme agitation. Performed in 1937 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the operation made Rose incapacitated for the rest of her life.

Tennessee Williams never forgave his parents. Rose’s surgery may have contributed to his alcoholism and his dependence on various combinations of amphetamines and barbiturates often prescribed by Dr. Max (Feelgood) Jacobson. They may have shared a genetic vulnerability, as Tennessee Williams also suffered from depression.

Tennessee Williams’ relationship with Frank Merlo, a 2nd generation Sicilian American who had served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, lasted from 1947 until Frank Merlo’s death from cancer in 1961. With that stability, Tennessee Williams created his most enduring works. Frank Merlo provided balance to many of Tennessee Williams’ frequent bouts with depression and the fear that, like his sister Rose, he would go insane.

Tennessee Williams’ brother Dakin and some friends believed he was murdered. The police report, however, suggested his use of drugs and alcohol contributed to his death. Many prescription drugs were found in the room. Tennessee Williams’ gag response may have been diminished by the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Tennessee Williams left his literary rights to Sewanee, The University of the South in honour of his grandfather, Walter Dakin, an alumnus of the university. It is located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The funds support a creative writing programme. When his sister Rose died after many years in a mental institution, she bequeathed over $50,000,000 from her part of the Williams estate to Sewanee, The University of the South as well.

In 1989, the City of St. Louis inducted Tennessee Williams into its St. Louis Walk of Fame.

The “mad heroine” theme that appeared in many of his plays seemed clearly influenced by the life of Tennessee Williams’ sister Rose.

Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)Characters in his plays are often seen as representations of his family members. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her, as well as Tennessee Williams himself. When Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, he believed he was going to die and that this play would be his swan song.

Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was generally seen to represent Tennessee Williams’ mother. Characters such as Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer were understood to represent Tennessee Williams himself. In addition, he used a lobotomy operation as a motif in Suddenly, Last Summer.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar named Desire both included references to elements of Tennessee Williams’ life such as homosexuality , mental instability and alcoholism.

Tennessee Williams wrote The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer when he was 29 and worked on it through his life. It seemed an autobiographical depiction of an early romance in Provincetown, Massachusetts. This play was produced for the first time on 1 October 2006 in Provincetown by the Shakespeare on the Cape production company, as part of the 1st Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.

The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer was published by New Directions in the spring of 2008, in a collection of previously unpublished experimental plays titled The Traveling Companion and Other Plays, edited by Williams scholar Annette J. Saddik.

Tennessee Williams’ last play A House Not Meant to Stand is a gothic comedy published in 2008 by New Directions with a foreword by Gregory Mosher and an introduction by Thomas Keith. Williams called his last play a “Southern gothic spook sonata.”

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Vaslav Nijinsky

Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky (Вацлав Фомич Нижинский; transliterated: Vatslav Fomich Nizhinsky; Polish: Wacław Niżyński)was born on 12 March, 1889 in Kiev, Ukraine and died on 8 April, 1950 in a London clinic and was buried in London until 1953 when his body was moved to Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris, France beside the graves of Gaetano Vestris, Theophile Gautier, and Emma Livry. Tombstone of Vaslav Nijinsky in Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris. The statue, donated by Serge Lifar, shows Vaslav Nijinsky as the puppet Petrouchka.

Vaslav was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent. Vaslav Nijinsky was one of the most gifted male dancers in history, and he grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterisations. Vaslav could perform en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time (Albright, 2004) and his ability to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was also legendary. The choreographer Bronislava Nijinska was his sister.

Vaslav Nijinsky was born to a Polish dancer’s family of Eleonora Bereda and Tomasz Niżyński. Vaslav Nijinsky was christened in Warsaw. In 1900 he joined the Imperial Ballet School, where he studied under Enrico Cecchetti, Nicholas Legat, and Pavel Gerdt. At 18 years old he was given a string of leads. In 1910, the company’s Prima ballerina assoluta Mathilde Kschessinskaya selected Vaslav Nijinsky to dance in a revival of Marius Petipa’s Le Talisman, during which Vaslav Nijinsky created a sensation in the role of the Wind God Vayou.

A turning point for Vaslav Nijinsky was his meeting Sergei Diaghilev, a member of the St. Petersburg elite and a wealthy patron of the arts, promoting Russian visual and musical art abroad, particularly in Paris. Vaslav Nijinsky and Sergei Diaghilev grew to become lovers, and Sergei Diaghilev, a controlling, dominant personality, became heavily involved in directing and managing Vaslav Nijinsky’s career. In 1909 Sergei Diaghilev took his dance company Ballets Russes, company to Paris, with Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova as the leads. The show was a great success and increased the reputations of both leads, as well as Sergei Diaghilev’s, throughout the artistic circles of Europe. Sergei Diaghilev had created Les Ballets Russes in its wake of public response, and with choreographer Michel Fokine, made it one of the most well-known companies of that time.

Vaslav Nijinsky’s talent showed in Michel Fokine’s pieces such as “Le Pavillon d’Armide” (music by Nikolai Tcherepnin), “Cleopatra” (music by Anton Arensky and other Russian composers) and a divertissement “The Feast”. Vaslav’s expressive execution of a pas de deux from the “Sleeping Beauty” (Tchaikovsky) was a tremendous success; in 1910 he performed in “Giselle”, and Michel Fokine’s ballets “Carnaval” and “Scheherazade” (based on the orchestral suite by Rimsky-Korsakov). partnership with Tamara Karsavina, also of the Mariinsky Theatre, was legendary.

Vaslav Nijinsky went back to the Mariinsky Theatre, but was dismissed for appearing on-stage during a performance as Albrecht in Giselle wearing tights without the modesty trunks obligatory for male dancers in the company. The Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna complained that his appearance was obscene, and he was dismissed. It is probable that the scandal was arranged by Sergie Diaghilev in order that Vaslav Nijinsky could be free to appear with his company, in the west, where many of his projects now centered around him. Vaslav danced lead roles in Michel Fokine’s new productions Le Spectre de la Rose (Weber), and Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka, in which his impersonation of a dancing but lifeless puppet was widely admired.

Vaslav Nijinsky took the creative reins and choreographed ballets, which slew boundaries and stirred controversy. Vaslav’s ballets were L’après-midi d’un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun, based on Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune) (1912), Jeux (1913), Till Eulenspiegel (1916) and Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring, with music by Igor Stravinsky (1913). Vaslav Nijinsky created choreography that exceeded the limits of traditional ballet and propriety. For the first time, his audiences were experiencing the futuristic, new direction of modern dance. The radically angular movements expressed the heart of Igor Stravinsky’s radically modern scores. Unfortunately, Vaslav Nijinski’s new trends in dance caused a riotous reaction at the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées when it premiered in Paris. As the title character in L’après-midi d’un faune the final tableau (or scene), during which he mimed masturbation with the scarf of a nymph, caused a scandal; he was accused by half of Paris of obscenity, but defended by such artists as Rodin, Odilon Redon and Proust.

Vaslav Nijinsky was never filmed while performing. When it was suggested to Sergie Diaghilev to record Vaslav Nijinsky’s performances on films for later generations, he declined, saying that the later generations would find a way to take care of themselves.

Sergie Diaghilev did not make this fateful journey, because he was told by a fortune teller in his younger days, that he would die on the ocean if he ever sailed. Without his mentor’s supervision, Vaslav Nijinsky entered into a relationship with Romola Pulszky, a Hungarian countess. An ardent fan of Vaslav Nijinsky, she took up ballet and used her family connections to get close to him. Despite her efforts to attract him, Vaslav Nijinsky appeared unconscious of her presence. Finally Romola booked passage on board a ship that Vaslav Nijinsky was due to travel on, and during the voyage Romola succeeded in engaging his affections.

Numerous speculations as to the true reason for their marriage have arisen, including the suggestion that Vaslav Nijinsky saw Romola’s title and supposed wealth as a means to escape Sergie Diaghilev’s repression.

Romola has often been vilified as the woman who forced Vaslav Nijinsky to abandon his artistry for cabaret fare, her pragmatic and plebeian ways often jarring with his sensitive nature. In his diary, Vaslav Nijinsky famously said of Romola “My wife is an untwinkling star …” They were married in Buenos Aires: when the company returned to Europe. Sergie Diaghilev is reported to have flown into a jealous rage because he and Vaslav Nijinsky were supposed to be lovers, and he fired Vaslav Nijinsky. Vaslav Nijinsky tried in vain to create his own troupe, but a crucial London engagement failed due to administrative problems.

During World War I Vaslav Nijinsky was interned in Hungary. Sergie Diaghilev succeeded in getting Vaslav Nijinsky out for a North American tour in 1916. During this time, Vaslav Nijinski choreographed and danced the leading role in Till Eulenspiegel. Around this time in his life, signs of his dementia praecox were becoming apparent to members of the company. Vaslav Nijinsky grew afraid of other dancers and imagined that a trap door would be left open.

Vaslav Nijinsky had a nervous breakdown in 1919, and his career effectively ended. Vaslav Nijinsky was diagnosed with schizophrenia and taken to Switzerland by his wife, where he was treated unsuccessfully by psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler. Vaslav Nijinsky spent the rest of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals and asylums.

Vaslav Nijinsky’s daughter Kyra married the Ukrainian conductor Igor Markevich, and they had a son named Vaslav. The marriage ended in divorce.

Vaslav Nijinsky’s Diary was written during the 6 weeks he spent in Switzerland before being committed to the asylum. Obscure and confused, it is obviously the work of a schizophrenic, but in many ways reflects a loving nature, combining elements of autobiography with appeals for compassion toward the less fortunate, and for vegetarianism and animal rights. Vaslav Nijinsky writes of the importance of feeling as opposed to reliance on reason and logic alone, and he denounces the practice of art criticism as being nothing more than a way for those who practice it to indulge their own egos rather than focusing on what the artist was trying to say. The diary also contains a bitter exposé of Vaslav Nijinsky’s relationship with Sergie Diaghilev.

As a dancer Vaslav Nijinsky was clearly extraordinary for his time. Towards the end of her life his dance partner Tamara Karsavina suggested that any young dancer out of the Royal Ballet School could now perform the technical feats with which he astonished his contemporaries. Vaslav Nijinsky’s main talent was probably not so much technical (Stanislas Idzikowski could leap as high and as far) as in mime and characterization; his major failing was that, being himself unable to form a satisfactory partnership with a woman, he was unsuccessful where such a relationship was important on-stage (in, say, Giselle). In epicene roles such as the god in Le Dieu Bleu, the rose in Spectre or the favourite slave in Scheherezade he was unsurpassed.

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