In Something Cloudy, Something Clear, Williams looks back over his life, swimming towards the summer of 1940, when he first fell in love with a young dancer named Kip. The ghosts of old theater acquaintances, lovers, and enemies return as Williams attempts to come to terms with his seduction of a young male dancer. Set in a Provincetown beach shack, the play uses the ocean as a metaphor for memory.
Acknowledging the finicky nature of memory, Williams wrote, "Kip in the play is completely different from Kip as he was. When someone hurts us deeply, we no longer see them at all clearly. Not until time has put them back in focus."
Something Cloudy, Something Clear marks a leap forward in Williams' approach to "the memory play". In his earlier works Williams had a narrator commenting on the past from outside the action of the play. Something Cloudy, Something Clearallows Williams, embodied in the character of August, to reconcile his self, late in life, with his emerging identity as a professional playwright in 1940, with the two selves coexisting in a single actor.
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