She’s called to a spiritual existence; he’s committed to an earthly one. Alma (Spanish for 'soul') loves the boy next door, John Buchanan. The two each have a rather different philosophy for life, though. While Alma is moved by graces and troubled by petty, every-day cruelties that accompany living, John cares only for human impulse and immediacy. He brandishes his chart of the human anatomy to prove his point: there’s no room in a body for a soul.
Circling one another, the pair illustrates the double-edged sword of human nature, darkness making way for lightness and vice versa, only to cut one another short. A gothic Southern town caked in heat makes for a brooding observer. In the quietly unsettling fashion unique to Tennessee Williams’ works, Summer and Smoke explores the connection between two people bound by a breathing tether. Stretch it too tightly, and it’s doomed to snap.