The Parade or Approaching the End of a Summerby Tennessee Williams
directed by Jef Hall-Flavin & Eric Powell Holm
Perhaps for the only time in his lifeunguardedly fell in love. For less than six weeks in the summer of 1940, Williams and a 22-year-old Canadian draft dodger, named Kip Kiernan, shared a two-story shack on Captain Jack’s Wharf in Provincetown.
One day Kiernan’s girlfriend entered the picture. Kiernan told Williams that their affair was over. Distraught and in a state of shock, William began to write The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer, a one-act that captured his broken heart– what he would call in his 1975 memoirs as “that pivotal summer
when I took sort of a crash course in growing up.”
In this play, Williams’s alter ego, Don, pines hopelessly after a muscular dancer, Dick, who is blithely in love with a woman, named Wanda. Don is himself pursued by a loving friend, Miriam. A pentimento, The Parade was very close to Williams’s heart. He kept on revisiting and revising it until he called it complete in 1962. Because it covers the same ground as Williams’s full-length play Something Cloudy, Something Clear, The Parade had largely been viewed by Williams scholars and biographers as the seed for that longer and more complexly woven 1981 drama. The Parade is, in fact, a once-lost early work that beautifully stands on its own. The Parade is also a historically significant work that provides convincing evidence that Williams had written freely about his sexual desires without disguise, self-loathing or subterfuge.