During the dust and heat of a long Kansas summer, William Inge’s A Loss of Roses is a tale set in a Depression both economic and emotional. Lila Green, a tent show actress who’s traveling troupe has folded, finds refuge with old friends in a small town. Helen Baird, a respectable widowed nurse and former neighbor, looks on her with motherly affection, and son Kenny has fond memories of the “Aunt Lila” who used to babysit him. But Kenny is now a full-grown man, full of flirtation and eager admiration, and fragile Lila, dealing with the latest in a long line of abusive men, is sorely tempted by Kenny’s sincerity and youthful ardor. As Kenny’s relationship with Helen grows increasingly volatile, still poisoned by the emotional fallout from his father’s death, and Lila’s scummy boyfriend Ricky tries to blackmail her into the porn industry, Lila and Kenny are increasingly drawn to the sanctuary of each other’s arms. Intergenerational strife, the loss of innocence, and the fragility of love weave themselves through the story of William Inge’s A Loss of Roses, a bittersweet and brooding drama, heavy with regret, pain, and fleeting beauty.
A Loss of Roses guide sections