Come Back, Little Sheba by William Inge

Come Back, Litte ShebaI thought this was a beautifully written play. The cast of characters is small and the dialogue is simple, but within that, William Inge is able to weave a complex portrayal of human desperation. The play centers around Lola and Doc, a long-married couple that rent out their spare room to Marie. Maire at once embodies the two didactic ideals of a what Lola and Doc think a young woman should be: Lola sees Marie as a flirt and encourages her fling with the school jock while Doc sees Marie as pure and “a good girl.” As the play goes on, Doc is forced to realize that Lola’s image is closer to the truth, bringing up memories of Lola and Doc’s own relationship and the cause of their shotgun wedding.

While the plot of the play itself is average, the dialogue conveys so much about the desperation that Lola and Doc feel about their marriage which Doc never wanted. Doc knows he owes it to Lola to love her, while Lola wants only to be truly cared for by her husband.

In many ways, this play reminded me of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire. To anyone who is a fan of that play, Inge’s dialogue and stage direction will be welcomed and familiar.

Availability: SMCM Library (Four Plays)
Review Submitted by: Lauren Grey, SMCM Alumn ’11
Rating:  Highly Recommended

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