Tennessee Williams, Brick Pollitt, Ambiguous, Mendacity, Homosexuality, Theatre, Alcoholism, Unseen Character, The Click, MFA Acting


I performed the role of Brick Pollitt at Lake Mirror Theatre in Lakeland, Florida from April 20- April 30 2006. The role of Brick Pollitt provided me with several acting challenges as well as multiple subjects to research. The most challenging aspects of portraying the character of Brick Pollitt are his alcoholism, issues of sexuality, and tormented familial relationships. Brick Pollitt journeys in the period of one day through major challenges in two key relationships. He moves from dominance in his relationship with Maggie to capitulation and from isolation in his relationship with Big Daddy to mutual understanding. Brick's relationships are further complicated by questions surrounding his recently deceased best friend Skipper and drives (alcoholism) that may be perceived as self destructive. My preliminary work has led me to believe Brick is in search of peace ('the click') in a tormented life (Williams, Cat 2.47). The nature of the torment needs further research for definition. Some critics argue Brick's sexuality is ambivalent, and he is repressing homosexual drives. Equally possible is arguing the homosexuality was restricted to Skipper. Making a decision about the definition of this relationship is key to making choices within the play because the friendship was so important to Brick's perception of himself. Brick believed his relationship was the "one true and pure thing" in a life filled with "mendacity" (Williams, Cat 2.50). 'Mendacity' is Bricks reference to his disgust with "lyin' an' liars' (Williams, Cat 2.50-51). He is lost without this anchor for his life and it has impacted his ability to interact with the world around him. Determining Brick's sexuality in my portrayal will be central to my process while I also embrace research into related areas of behavior. To supplement my research of alcoholism and Brick's sexuality, the following topics: -A Psycho-Analytical study of the character Brick Pollitt and his "archetypal" relationships with Maggie, Big Daddy, Skipper, Gooper, and his place in society. -The evolution of the character Brick Pollitt through various scripts and screenplays. From Williams's first script through to dealing with the Hays Code. A study of Tennessee Williams life history and the influence on the play. -The history of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from its Morosco Theatre Broadway debut in New York City on March 24, 1955, followed by its film release in 1955 starring Paul Newman, Burl Ives, and Elizabeth Taylor. Any successful portrayal of Brick Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof demands intense focus to individual relationships within the ensemble. The central theme of the play is 'mendacity' (deceit) (Williams, Cat 2.50). Brick uses this word to describe his disgust, but the 'mendacity' of his human relations in the aging and decaying Southern society is what troubles him (Williams, Cat 2.50). Discovering the ties between family, 'mendacity', and society are relevant to the execution of the play (Williams, Cat 2.50). I believe depiction of Brick Pollitt in this Pulitzer Prize winning American Classic will best present my abilities achieved in the Master of Fine Arts Program


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Graduation Date



Shafer, John


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Release Date

May 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)