PICNIC at the Odyssey Theatre

Caitlin O’Grady, Yolanda Snowball, Symphony Canady, Monti Washington, Ahkei Togun and Sydney A. Mason. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw.

One of America’s most popular playwrights in the 1950s, William Inge drew on his childhood and youth in a small Kansas town for his incisive portrayals of life in the American Midwest. Inge eventually fell out of favor with critics and audiences alike, a decline precipitated in part by a brutal hit job at the hands of prominent theater critic Robert Brustein who, in a review of The Dark at the Top of the Stairs in 1958, assailed Inge for “mediocrity” and “manipulation.” Easily wounded —it also bears mention he lived his life in the closet —the playwright succumbed to his inner demons and died by suicide in 1973 at the age of 60. Read more…