Tennessee Williams's The Night of the Iguana is the last of the distinguished American playwright's major artistic, critical, and box office successes. First performed on December 28, 1961, on Broadway in the Royale Theatre, The Night of the Iguana won Williams his fourth New York Drama Critics Award. Like other plays by Williams, The Night of the Iguana focuses on sexual relationships and odd characters, including one crippled by his desires, the Reverend Shannon. Indeed, in retrospect, many critics see The Night of the Iguana as the link between stylistic eras (early/middle to late) for Williams. They argue that Williams reveals more of himself in this play than his previous work. Indeed, unlike many of Williams's plays The Night of the Iguana ends on a positive, hopeful note. However, some contemporary critics of the original Broadway production found the play lacking form and derivative of Williams's earlier successes, such as A Streetcar Named Desire. There has also been a lingering controversy over what the iguana, mentioned in the title, represents. The iguana, which spends most of the play tied up on the edge of the veranda, is seen as a symbol for a number of things, including freedom, what it means to be human, and Shannon. As an unnamed critic in Time magazine wrote, ''Purists of the craft may object that, strictly speaking, The Night of the Iguana does not go anywhere. In the deepest sense, it does not need to. It is already there, at the moving, tormented heart of the human condition."
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