When I started reading Tea and Sympathy, I had no idea what to expect from it. I’d never heard of it until seeing it on the syllabus for my Modern American Drama class, but I’m very happy to report that I loved this play. Even though it was written in 1953, it feels totally relevant in 2014, and I’d really love to see it updated on stage or film.
The play takes place at a male boarding school in New England and primarily follows the lives of Laura, the wife of one of the school’s masters, and Tom, a student who’s a bit of an outcast. Tom is teased by his classmates for his slightly effeminate manner, a characteristic that becomes key to the play’s plot. I really liked Laura and Tom as characters, and I just generally liked this play. To me, it was both realistic and satisfying, something that I think can be somewhat difficult to achieve.
After just finishing the first act, I did some serious research to figure out first if there’s a film adaptation (there is) and then how I can watch it. There are a few sketchy websites where I could stream it, but, thankfully, I found a site where I can rent it online, something I fully intend to do either tonight or tomorrow. If you’re interested, the film stars Deborah Kerr and John Kerr (who are not related), both of whom originated these roles at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1953.
I must say, it’s quite satisfying to enjoy something this much when I had no expectations of what I was getting into. The joys of reading never cease to amaze me.
Also, this marks the halfway point for my reading goal this year! Considering we’re only at the end of March, I’d say that’s a pretty successful accomplishment.