Something Cloudy, Something Clear

by  Tennessee Williams

Full Length Play, Drama  /  6m, 5f

Something Cloudy, Something Clear is, by Tennessee Williams' own admission, "one of the most personal plays I've ever written."

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Something Cloudy, Something Clear

by  Tennessee Williams

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6m, 5f
  • SubGenre


  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

The scene is a beach shack on Cape Cod, during the summer of 1940, where August, a fledgling playwright, is rewriting the play intended for his Broadway debut. He is distracted by his infatuation for Kip, a handsome Canadian dancer and draft dodger, who is visiting with a wealthy and protective young girl named Clare, reputedly his sister. When Clare, who is not all she claims to be, goes off with a gangster friend, August takes advantage of her absence to lay suit to the sexually ambivalent Kip. But while he wins his case, there is as much pain as pleasure in their liaison, as Kip proves to be both terminally ill and unable to reciprocate August's obsessive passion. And, as a counter theme, August must also negotiate with the fawning, penny-pinching producers, whose crass commercialism he turns aside with a fierce defense of his artistic integrity. In the end we know that his play, like his sexual compulsion, will come to grief—but we are also aware that the artist, and the vision he must pursue, will remain undaunted and undiminished despite all the obstacles and frustrations that surely lie ahead.

Never before published outside America, Something Cloudy, Something Clear is, by Tennessee Williams' own admission, "one of the most personal plays I've ever written." It records Williams' experiences during that 'pivotal summer when I took sort of a crash course in growing up." On the brink of becoming a successful playwright, Williams was also to 'come thoroughly out of the closet' and meet Kip, his first love. The play brilliantly re-imagin's that long ago time, now recollected through the filter of all the playwright' successes and failures, joys and regrets.

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"A deeply felt, unstintingly honest study of love and loss, drawn from the playwright's own personal history…Williams' plays are carved in the cavern of his soul and in the caves of his own experience." — NY Post

"…the playwright is back writing about a protagonist he really knows—himself." — The New York Times


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    This title is currently restricted in London, please contact the Licensing Department for further details.



  • Time Period: 1980s, 1940s / WWII
  • Setting: A beach shack
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


6m, 5f
KIP - 21
CLARE - 20
MAURICE FIDDLER - a theatre producer
CAROLINE WALES - an actress
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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 capp ...

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Something Cloudy, Something Clear premiered at the Bouwerie Lane Theater in New York City in September 1981 under the direction of Eve Adamson.

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