Set in a small Kansas town not unlike the one where Inge — once dubbed the “playwright of the Midwest” — was raised, Picnic explores potent universal themes of gender, sexuality and its repression, and the gap between desire and reality. Inge was praised alongside such lofty peers as Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. He saw success both in New York — actor Paul Newman made his Broadway debut in Picnic — and Hollywood, where the film version of the play won two Oscars in 1955.
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