William Inge’s hit play Picnic, which premiered in 1953 with then unknown actor Paul Newman in the cast, returns to Broadway this season. Set in a small Kansas town during Labor Day, Picnic starts out with everything about as All-American and fine as it can be. But as the day progresses into night and the next morning, people’s lives are changed by passion and love.
In Picnic, William Inge created a play focusing on characters who are driven to find and be loved but are also afraid of the passions and truths that define that state. Simultaneously troubling, blissful, frightening and passionate, the play focuses on widow Flo Owens and her daughters Madge and Millie. Mille, the younger of the two, is about to embark for college on a scholarship, while the beautiful Madge is married to a handsome and athletic college boy name Alan.
Life would be simple if the handsome drifter Hal, an old friend of Alan’s, didn’t show up. But Hal has arrived and his presence brings complications as Alan’s friend finds a soulful and intimate connection with Madge. At the same time, Millie starts to fall for Hal. By the end of the play entire worlds are destroyed and created as Alan leaves Madge and Madge, who has had a romantic encounter with Hal, runs off in pursuit of the handsome drifter.
Simply poetic, painfully honest and deeply moving, Picnic takes audiences on a tour of the heart and a voyage via the soul.
Written by William Inge