Williams’s A Clear Day for Creve Coeur (1979) is so anti-picnic that it ends the action before the picnic begins. The play’s title is a pun on the French creve coeur, which means heartbreak. In the middle or late 1930s when Creve Coeur was an active amusement park in St. Louis.
The action concerns Bodey Bodenhaven’s attempt to match her brother, a beer-drinking, no-neck monster (of the kind Williams satirized in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), with her roommate, Dorothea Gallaway, called Dotty. Bodey is set to sacrifice Dotty to her brother’s crudity at a picnic in an amusement park where she will supply such staple picnic foods as fried chicken and deviled eggs. Bodey explains to Dotty, “I’ve wrapped up the picnic. It’s nice and cool at Creve Coeur Lake, and the ride on the open-air streetcar is lickety-split through green country….”
The picnic promises to be a moment of utter despair for Dotty, and she refuses to go along but then relents. Broken-hearted, Dotty leaves her apartment, and the play ends.
See Tennessee Williams. A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. New York: New Directions, 1980