Susan Tyrrell: On the Edge of Ecstasy and Despair

Susan Tyrrell: On the Edge of Ecstasy and Despair


"Magnificent in every way. Diabolical in every way, although I do not mean to imply that she is any way cruel or malicious: her destruction is caused by means of her talent and her spirit and her lusts, all huge, all bold, all truthful.

"Susan reveals to us what actually happens when we achieve our goals--amatory or artistic or redemptive. Every victory brings with it a commensurate pile of despair, prices to be paid, spills to be cleaned up, glances to be avoided. All of this appears in her work, and in her being: she is a walking encyclopedia of experience and extremity.

"In my Camino, in the Nabokov [Invitation to a Beheading], in Fat City, in Gavin's film [I Never Promised You A Rose Garden], she is gleefully riding the edge, seducing, teasing, taunting, the voluptuous girl on the playground who has glossy photos of both sexual congress and autopsies: The beginnings and the ends, and all the consequences are present in her work.

"Huge heart, full of longing and pain and happiness and a severe ability to judge the audience of all of her gifts.

"A deep, lush, glorious bayou or jungle into which we fearfully plunge. If we are brave and we are strong, we will emerge with a portion of her gifts, a vision, and a story."

Tennessee Williams, 1982

Susan Tyrrell, by Cynthia MacAdams 


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