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Compare the Two Act Three's in Tennessee Williams' Cat On a Hot Tin Roof.

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Introduction

Compare the Two Act Three's in Tennessee Williams' Cat On a Hot Tin Roof After writing the entire play of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and conferring with the famous producer, Elia Kazan, putting the show on, Tennessee Williams was asked to write a new Act Three, which he then named "The Broadway Version", as it was to be performed on Broadway, The three main differences we see are the presence of Big Daddy, that the impact of the previous act has an effect ob Brick's character in Act Three and that Margaret is a more sympathetic character. Act Three (Broadway Version), begins as Big Daddy "is seen leaving at the end on Act Two" we learn from the stage directions, implying that he is onstage, unlike his position in the original Act Three. Big Daddy "[shouts, as he goes out...]: ALL-LYIN'-DYIN'-LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!" The fact that Big Daddy is present gives us a connection between Act Two and Act Three. In the original Act Three, Big Daddy is absent and this has implications, in that, Big Daddy's character is not developed as it is in the Broadway Version. ...read more.

Middle

The Broadway Version really develops Big Daddy's character. When he is present onstage he is so powerful he almost mocks everyone else. We see how everyone reacts to him, especially from the stage directions, "[Mae and Gooper hurry along the upper gallery and stand behind Big Daddy in the hall door.]" Gooper refers to his father as "Sir" and both he and Mae try to cover up what they had just been saying about Big Daddy dying. Mae says, "[it's] nothin', Big Daddy..." Although one of the major differences between Original and the Broadway version is the presence of Big Daddy, in the Broadway version, the actual differences in the other characters' are shown, for the most part, before Big Daddy enters with, "Looks like the wind was takin' liberties with this place." When Big Daddy is not onstage, his presence is constantly there. When absent, the conversation is about him and his "cancer". Gooper first tries to justify himself about his relationship with Big Daddy, "I've always loved Big Daddy" but then, only moments later, he admits that he " don't give a g*****n if Big Daddy likes [him] or don't". ...read more.

Conclusion

In the Broadway Version, although the situation is still left unresolved and we don't know whether Brick will let Margaret "take hold" of him, the curtain falls after Margaret "[touches his check gently]" this is a sign of affection and Brick does not refuse it. Altogether the Original Act is less eventful, less dramatic. It does not need the violent storm that takes place in the Broadway Version, to create tension. The writing is strong enough not to need the obvious theatricality of a storm. On the whole, it is more powerful and more credible. Big Daddy's presence may help to develop the other's characters', yet it is, in itself, less powerful than the "[long drawn cry of agony and rage]" of the Original Act. In addition, Brick's despair is too deep to believe that the conversation could have had that effect. The Original Act is typical of Tennessee Williams and depicts the story the way in which he saw it, which was an unresolved ending. The audience should be able to leave the theatre and make up their minds for themselves what they think would have happened, and carry on thinking of it for a while. Amy Lewis ...read more.

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