Sweet Bird of Youth in quotes
In June 2013 Marianne Elliot brought Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth to The Old Vic in a revival that starred Kim Cattrall as Alexandra Del Lago and Seth Numrich as Chance Wayne.
An exploration of age and the destruction of dreams, the play was originally written in 1959 and told the story of fading Hollywood legend Alexandra Del Lago as she flees the criticism around her failed comeback into the arms of idealistic dreamer-turned-gigolo Chance Wayne.
Today, on what would have been Tennessee Williams’ birthday, we look back at some of the most enduring lines from the play.
‘You’ve gone past something you couldn’t afford to go past; your time, your youth, you’ve passed it. It’s all you had and you’ve had it.’
‘I think that hate is a feeling that can only exist where there is no understanding.’
‘I don’t ask for your pity, but just for your understanding – not even that – no. Just for some recognition of me in you, and the enemy, time, in us all.’
‘The great difference between people in this world is not between the rich and the poor or the good and the evil, the biggest of all differences in this world is between the ones that had or have the pleasure in love and those that haven’t and hadn’t any pleasure in love, but just watched it with envy, sick envy. The spectators and the performers.’
‘I’ve been accused of having a death wish but I think it’s life that I wish for, terribly, shamelessly, on any terms whatsoever.’
‘Of course, you were crowned with laurel in the beginning, your gold hair was wreathed with laurel, but the gold is thinning and the laurel has withered. Face it – pitiful monster.’