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The plays

In "Summer and Smoke," Alma Winemiller is on the fast track to spinsterhood. The reverend's daughter is, and always has been, hung up on neighbor John Buchanan Jr. He has followed in his father's medical footsteps, but is distracted by card games...

In "Summer and Smoke," Alma Winemiller is on the fast track to spinsterhood. The reverend's daughter is, and always has been, hung up on neighbor John Buchanan Jr. He has followed in his father's medical footsteps, but is distracted by card games, booze and women. When they come into contact, Alma is dizzy with love for Buchanan and disapproval of his late-night lifestyle.

John tosses out off-handed flirty quips, but cannot give Alma what she is looking for. He can, however, give Rosa Gonzales exactly what she's looking for.

The show played on Broadway in the late 1940s.

As for "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale," Williams said:

"I wrote it in Rome one summer and brought it with me to London the fall that 'Summer and Smoke' was to be produced there. But I arrived with it too late. The original version of the play was already in rehearsals."

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In "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale," the main woman in John Buchanan's life is his super-attentive mother, a woman who worries about his wet feet, dries his hair for him and imagines the kind of woman he should marry. And that woman is not the eccentric Alma Winemiller.

Alma is still spending a lot of time at the window facing the Buchanan's house in this version, but John is more thoughtful about his longtime friend and is at least love-curious toward her.

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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