Click on the headline to link to a "Wikipedia" entry for American playwrightTennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo."
Waiting For A Sign
The Rose Tattoo, Three Plays of Tennessee Williams, New Directions Books, New York, 1959
“The Rose Tattoo” is a little different look at the family. Although the geography of the play is still the American South this play is not peopled with Williams’ usually WASPy characters but rather a little conclave of immigrant Italians who have somehow made a beachhead in the Gulf Coast area. The central character is a previously abandoned but now widowed Italian seamstress trying to survive, mainly through her hopes for her daughter, on her wits, her memories of youth, her integrity and her fierce instinct to survive in alien territory. A philandering husband, the obsessive subject of her adoration, a daughter trying to learn to fly on her own in the love game, and an incidental encounter with a fellow, younger Italian truck driver come together to give her the sign she needs to start over. Maybe. This play, more than most of Williams’ efforts, depends on the strength of the dialogue and not the plot line. That is what gives its dramatic edge as Williams explores yet another tangled up dream gone awry story.
In the movie version, the role of the young Italian truck driver as played by Burt Lancaster and the seamstress as played by the fabulous Anna Magnini is more central to the unfolding story from the beginning. The dramatic tensions between this pair and the ‘waiting for a sign’ by the seamstress are still fairly similar. It is however Lancaster’s enhanced role that really makes this a visual treat and gives one hope that this new family ‘aborning’ can survive.