Red Hills Alabama

Now generally a large part of my job as a dramaturg is to research the time and location of the play, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. For example, WilliamsCandles to the Sun is set in the Red Hills in Alabama. In my research for Candles I could not find an actual mining camp called Red Hills. Now that is not to say that a Red Hills mining establishment never existed in Alabama, I just did not run across it in my research.

However, when one cannot find the proper factual information one can only draw conclusions to where Williams could have come up with the Red Hills. Here are a few ideas:

There is “Red Mountain” in Alabama which is a long ridge running southwest-northeast and dividing Jones valley from Shades Valley south of Birmingham, Alabama. It is part of the Ridge-and-Valley province of the Appalachian mountains. According to my research this area was/is also rich in coal and limestone.

There is also reference to the characters residing in Clay County. Which is a real county in Alabama, however, it does not lie exactly within the area of Red Mountain.

It seems that Williams based the locations loosely on locations he knew within the state of Alabama, though the locations referenced in the play are not in the same location. Generally Williams’ writing is very factually based regarding locations this early play did not stay true to life.

The map included in this entry was drawn to aide the cast in understanding different location discussed in Williams’ play.


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