(Mark Brown’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/25.)

Letters between Tennessee Williams and Peter Brook in which the playwright pleads that Cat on a Hot Tin Roof be produced as he originally wrote it are among an enormous cache of personal papers acquired by the V&A.

The museum announced that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given £690,000, and a private donor an undisclosed sum, to acquire the archive of Brook, arguably Britain’s greatest living theatre director. The personal papers include diaries, photographs, rehearsal notes, drafts of scripts and more than six decades of correspondence with theatrical giants such as JB Priestley, Laurence Olivier and Samuel Beckett.

One exchange between Williams and Brook in 1956 reveals the playwright’s frustration at rewriting the third act for the Broadway premiere of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955 – something he was pushed into by director Elia Kazan, who wanted Big Daddy to be written in to the play’s conclusion.


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