The scene is a beach shack on Cape Cod, during the summer of 1940, where August, a fledgling playwright, is rewriting the play intended for his Broadway debut. He is distracted by his infatuation for Kip, a handsome Canadian dancer and draft dodger, who is visiting with a wealthy and protective young girl named Clare, reputedly his sister. When Clare, who is not all she claims to be, goes off with a gangster friend, August takes advantage of her absence to lay suit to the sexually ambivalent Kip. But while he wins his case, there is as much pain as pleasure in their liaison, as Kip proves to be both terminally ill and unable to reciprocate August's obsessive passion. And, as a counter theme, August must also negotiate with the fawning, penny-pinching producers, whose crass commercialism he turns aside with a fierce defense of his artistic integrity. In the end we know that his play, like his sexual compulsion, will come to grief—but we are also aware that the artist, and the vision he must pursue, will remain undaunted and undiminished despite all the obstacles and frustrations that surely lie ahead.
Never before published outside America, Something Cloudy, Something Clear is, by Tennessee Williams' own admission, "one of the most personal plays I've ever written." It records Williams' experiences during that 'pivotal summer when I took sort of a crash course in growing up." On the brink of becoming a successful playwright, Williams was also to 'come thoroughly out of the closet' and meet Kip, his first love. The play brilliantly re-imagin's that long ago time, now recollected through the filter of all the playwright' successes and failures, joys and regrets.