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It is the steamy summer in New Orleans in the late 1940s Old war buddies have gone to their weekly bowling league after work Meanwhile, young brides pass the time in their two flat apartment while waiting for their husbands to return It is amidst this backdrop that begins Tennessee Williams classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which still stands the test of time today and became a classic film featuring Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy This steamy play ran the gamut of human emotions, and for this I rate it 4 stars Tennessee Williams introduced the world to characters who have become archetypes for the post war 1940s Stella Kowalski, a young bride expecting her first child, who is very much in love with her husband and submits to his every want and need Her husband, Stanley Kowalski, a war veteran working in a supply company to provide for his wife, and still feeling the need to gather with the men bowling or playing poker after work Harold Mitchell Mitch the bachelor son who looks after his sickly mother And, of course, the sultry Blanche DuBois, Stella s sister of an undetermined age, the independent, modern woman, who also has a myriad of problems Blanche DuBois, fresh off of another failure, has taken a streetcar named Desire to spend the summer with Stella and Stanley Kowalski in their one bedroom apartment Heightened sexually whereas Stella is submissive, there is obvious tension between Blanche and Stanley from the beginning, with Stella acting as a go between Not only is there tension, Stanley immediately sees beyond Blanche s gaudy clothes and jewelry and sets out to investigate her past With only a sheet separating their living arrangements in a sweltering summer, the tension continues to escalate throughout the play As Stanley discovers layer upon layer of Blanche s past, Stella is forced to choose between her dominate husband and sister While very much in love with her husband, as she points out, she still feels a loyalty to her sister and to her past She is appalled when her husband reveals that Blanche compromised her role as high school English teacher to engage in inappropriate relationships with her students If this play had taken place thirty years later, I can believe that Stella would have done some digging of her own to clear Blanche s name Yet, it is clear that Stella s loyalties lie with her husband, and that what makes the denouement of the play all the shocking for me, as I am sure it did for many others as well Tennessee Williams went on to have a hall of fame career as a playwright, including the classics Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Glass Menagerie, which have been performed hundreds if not thousands of times over the years He also was ahead of his time in Desire by discussing social issues such as homosexual relationships, domestic violence and a woman s monetary independence from her husband While not my absolute favorite play, A Streetcar Named Desire introduced classic characters, and I look forward to seeing them portrayed on film. A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee WilliamsA Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948 The play opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barry Theatre The Broadway production was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Jessica Tandy, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Kim Hunter The London production opened in 1949 with Bonar Colleano, Vivien Leigh, and Renee Asherson and was directed by Laurence Olivier The drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often regarded as among the finest plays of the 20th century, and is considered by many to be Williams greatest After the loss of her family home, Belle Reve, to creditors, Blanche DuBois travels from the small town of Laurel, Mississippi, to the New Orleans French Quarter to live with her younger, married sister, Stella, and brother in law, Stanley Kowalski Blanche is in her thirties and, with no money, she has nowhere else to go Blanche tells Stella that she has taken a leave of absence from her English teaching position because of her nerves which is later revealed to be a lie Blanche laments the shabbiness of her sister s two room flat She finds Stanley loud and rough, eventually referring to him as common Stanley, in return, does not care for Blanche s manners and dislikes her presence 2003 1381 159 9649056386 20 1951 Whoa.I did not consume this play as I was intended to I mean, honestly, you re not supposed to read a play Tell that to any high school English teacher ever, but still Tennessee Williams didn t write this like Hopefully in sixty years a girl will read this alone in her room in one sitting so she can fulfill her goal of reading a classic every month That s not his ideal.That being said.THIS MADE ME FEEL SO MUCH.A play is supposed to be acted, obviously Reading it leads to a less emotional rendering, with less full characters, in an imagined version of what is supposed to be a concrete setting It s a lesser experience like reading a screenplay Cough cough, f ck you JK Rowling, cough And still this was incredible Blanche and Stella and Mitch were heart rending There s so much tension here, and the revelations and the moments of climax and action are just unreal I don t even know what to say beyond whoa.Guess I should ve stopped this review after the first word.Bottom line FANTASTIC FANTASTIC FANTASTIC This reading a classic a month thing is the best thing I m doing this year. Okay, first of all, may I just say you should see the movie before you read the book The thing about this play is that it absolutely relies on tension And that tension is absolutely there in a quality rendition of this show But it is not conveyed on page Likewise, most of Blanche s character is in her nuance, in the subtext of each scene where she acts nervous and worried and in how she is framed and in her fear and turmoil In a character like this, a character full of ambiguity and hurt and angst, how could an on page rendition be so sympathetic How could she gain your sympathies despite her flaws The answer is that she doesn t Until you see the movie and she breaks your fucking heart.Honestly, I think there is a lot to be said about this play and its connection to the downfall of Southern white life wow, we have read about that a lot in AP Lit this year There is also a lot to be said about its occasionally weird gay subtext there s some explicit text that the movie cuts because homophobia, but also the fact that this is essentially a love triangle between a woman s husband and her sister Which is something the movie plays up, um, kind of a lot There s a scene framing the two sisters as Hollywood lovers and it is weird Also, I d like to point you all to the comment underneath this status stating that Stanley is a caricature of a straight man and Tenesee Williams just doesn t understand straight men, because holy shit, that is the funniest thing I have ever read.But honestly, I think explaining the subtext wouldn t be the best decision either for spoiler purposes a lot of the thematic stuff is pretty easy to understand or for my mental health I am running off far too little sleep and I don t think this review is coherent, probably What I will say is that you should see the movie, and then read the play and compare the two, and that I really liked this It made no impact on me when I read it, but it s worth the watch. The Pulitzer Prize And Drama Critics Circle Award Winning Play Reissued With An Introduction By Arthur Miller Death Of A Salesman And The Crucible , And Williams Essay The World I Live In It Is A Very Short List Of Th Century American Plays That Continue To Have The Same Power And Impact As When They First Appeared Years After Its Broadway Premiere, Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire Is One Of Those Plays The Story Famously Recounts How The Faded And Promiscuous Blanche DuBois Is Pushed Over The Edge By Her Sexy And Brutal Brother In Law, Stanley Kowalski Streetcar Launched The Careers Of Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter, And Karl Malden, And Solidified The Position Of Tennessee Williams As One Of The Most Important Young Playwrights Of His Generation, As Well As That Of Elia Kazan As The Greatest American Stage Director Of The S And S 4.5 starsTragic, raw, and suffused with striking imagery and symbolism, this play is a must read and now one that I must also see Williams does a tremendous job of evoking the atmosphere of New Orleans during the 1940 s the music, the heat, the people The prose is lyrical and truly astonishing at times I felt as if I were a participant in each and every sceneThe sky that shows around the dim white building is a peculiarly tender blue, almost a turquoise, which invests the scene with a kind of lyricism and gracefully attenuates the atmosphere of decay You can almost feel the warm breath of the brown river beyond the river warehouses with their faint redolences of bananas and coffee The vibrant and luckless Blanche DuBois arrives on a streetcar named Desire to inhabit the cramped and close quarters of her sister Stella and her husband, Stanley Kowalski Blanche s duplicitous nature makes for an intriguing character study The quiet and reserved Stella is the complete opposite of her sister She shares a passionate relationship with Stanley who is perfectly characterized by WilliamsAnimal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependently, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens The atmosphere immediately turns stifling and the tension quickly escalates as the three lives intersect and collide Unfamiliar with this play, I was surprised at the heavy themes, in particular those of domestic violence and mental illness This play felt very real and human, extremely powerful and ultimately quite heartbreaking. It s the late 1940 s and I could visualize the setting of the New Orleans French Quarterlove itand hear the jazzy blues music playing thru the window as Tennessee Williams brings to life the characters of a very well built Stanley, his better half Stella, and her delusional, whiskey drinking southern belle of a sister Blanche who is in town for an extended visit.With two women and one hot tempered, suspicious man in a dinky one bedroom flat, trouble starts brewing at the onset and never lets up until the ill fated end.Whoever you are.I have always counted on the kindness of strangersAs a first time read for me, the story behind A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE was a complete surprise as were the multitude of controversial subject matters often understated in presentation throughout the play, but still.A powerful and emotional drama Loved itneed to get my hands on a copy of the film version with Brando and Leigh..fast They told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian FieldsThere is a certain high you feel when you read a classic It s not one that can be repeatable or interchangeable It attaches on to you and if it s good enough It might never leave your system Enter, our setting New Orleans in the late 1940s, post second world war and the American Dream is thick in the atmosphere Jazz and sex and booze and gambling run wild on the streets Enter, our characters Stanley Kowalski, Stella and Blanche DuBois All three damaged and broken All three deliciously raptured in our plot Enter, our Story Their worlds are about to take a 360 degree turn when emotion, the summer heat, lust, manipulation, cleverness but mostly desire come alive and off the pages written by Tennessee Williams Touch Anyone who picks upA Streetcar Named Desireknows they are going to be in for a story beyond the story The writing screams hidden metaphors, and imagery that makes you want to dance with Blanche, play poker with Stanley, cry with Stella and be apart of the gang under New Orleans moon The story was palpable It felt like I could touch the characters hearts and minds and it would be okay because they would let me, because Tennessee crafted the story in a way that those who are patient and would allow the characters to touch your hearts It could work the other way around too Smell There s a certain warmth you have when you come down to your moms cooking or it s Saturday morning and you can smell breakfast downstairs The atmosphere that surrounded me throughout reading this script was electric, it smelt like warm bread and then changed to whiskey filled game nights There was never a still moment in the world we step foot in Taste There are so many different types of desire and lust I could taste all of them in this play It was as if each had a distinct flavour and every time a conflict occurred in the plotline, I felt it I think the manner that Williams approached many different aspects and issues in this book was so strong and relative to the time that this play was published in This was a time when being in the LGBT community was considered a crime that could be punished and a psychological disease that could be treated This was a time when being a southern belle was the only way to be accepted as a woman This was a time when domestic abuse was considered normal and just part of the marriage I could go on and on and list the different themes that this story approached, but I m just going say that there was not a single tasteless moment in this play It may have been bitter, or sweet or even sour But never tasteless Hear New Orleans in the 1940 s and this novel both have the same tune that plays back The Blue Piano, the jazz, the love, the instability, the desire It was a melody that played back and played loud through and through Their was a powerful voltage that rang through the soundtrack, and it was like every time you get close you get an electric shock that makes you alive inside and even though you know it s bad to like it You want Sound like a high yet See When you think of desire, what comes inside your head There s a sort of invisible thread from Madame Bovary to A Streetcar Named Desire, which in its route gets tied up in a hot whorehouse and wraps vainly around the cosmetics section of a pharmacy in the Southern United States before knotting at its terminus in New Orleans I find it almost criminal how often people mistake Blanche duBois whimsy for female frailty, for I think she is an almost unnaturally strong character far, far so than her timid sister Stella Perhaps it is because her foil, and diametric opposite, Stanley is so much so the iron casting of masculine strength and violence, that make Blanche seem to the reader viewer so relatively weak But the play is dominated by the very different strengths of these enormous characters Stanley s violent force and Blanche s imaginative power.Blanche, like her French bourgeois predecessor, Emma Bovary, has an old fashioned ideal of romance which she cannot reconcile with her amorous experiences Unlike Emma, Blanche has a much sordid history, and as a result has become the battleground between her vain illusions and her knowing disillusionment Having fallen in love with a gay boy in her youth, who subsequently died, she sought love in the many men of the local army camp, living a prostitute s kind of life, and even had an affair with a young male student, until she lost her family estate, Belle Reve presumably from belle r ve, french for beautiful dream and appropriately a common name for sanitariums, along with belle vue which she lost to debtors Blanche s world her home, her job, her love or search therefor , everything, she loses, and flees her soiled reputation to live with her sister Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski She has a passionate imagination, which is her last remaining crutch of her fragile sanityI don t want realism I want magic Yes, yes, magic I try to give that to people I misrepresent things to them I don t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth And it that s sinful, then let me be damned for itHer desperation for romance, for magic, in her life is the only avenue remaining for her escape That s what Streetcar Names Desire is about escape Escape from the shameful past, drinking to escape from the dully painful present, and escape from the violent future Blanche eventually retreats fully into her own self delusions of romantic escape when her past creeps unexpectedly into the present.The story of Stella and Stanley is a time creep of the opposite orientation Stella is made aware of the dangers and disturbances of a future with Stanley by the mistreatment of her sister Stella sheds her luxurious tears at the the curtain close as a rueful acknowledgement of the tension between reality and illusion While she cannot fully believe Blanche s story, she cannot bring herself to fully deny it either Her vision of Stanley, of her sister, and of her life spread out ahead of her are forever changed by what has transpired Though she stays with Stanley, her relationship with him is tainted with something of mistrust and fear.Illusion in the play, the main funhouse mirror, is the illusion of appearance Everything has a surface and an interior, and there is a struggle, a contradiction, between the veneer of appearance and the truth of substance Blanche becomes obsessed with her appearance, rather than reconciling herself with the maelstrom of emotion and fear which boils beneath the surface, she suffocates her own Self by the feint play of her made up appearance She has an imagination which approaches prolepsis in its improvisational fervor She always has a lie, a fraud, a gloss over for the truth which is black inside of her She is fearful of the light, which not only shows her aging appearance, signs of aging she she cannot cover up, but is also symbolic for the truths which are rising like slag to the surface, revealing the cold worn metal beneath What she cannot escape is that the world does not have the magic which she seeks, the most powerful force around her is truth, and it is truth which she feels she needs to escape The tension between truth and magic eventually destroys her psyche.For Stanley, escape, illusion, is obtained through vice drinking, gambling, domestic abuse and violence His fears of incompetence and undeserving are evaded through his violent actions, which both evade questioning yet also show his hand He is mirrored man to Blanche, and she the revealing pier glass to him Because they are so opposed, they reveal the truths in each other s characters Stanley s violence is incompatible with Blanche s romantic visions of the world, particularly her vision of men In Stanley she seems a savage character, almost like the stock ruffian of a Spanish romance, but one which is violent even to her, which is violent in its uncovering of her secrets one which is deliberately cruel This deliberate cruelty on the part of Stanley is something which Blanche finds the only thing not forgivable and the only thing which has the true power to shatter her war worn illusions For Stanley, Blanche represents the world which shares his wife, but which he fears has a stronger, atavistic claim on her He can never offer Stella money or blissful security, he can never offer her culture Blanche is the very manifestation of these ideals, and her romantic vision of the world is alluring to all around her, her imaginative power is a danger to Stanley s marriage, because it is a reminded to him and to Stella of the kind of life which they can never have with each otherThey told me to take a street car named Desire, and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian FieldsDesire and death the only ways to reach paradise Realmente, no se puede leer la obra sin ver a Brando o a Leigh encarnando a Stanley Kowalski y Blanche DuBois Hay im genes de la pel cula de Elia Kazan imposibles de olvidar, que se imponen a la mente sin remedio Sin embargo, la obra de teatro difiere de ella en algunos aspectos importantes Empezando por el final, qu Hollywood impuso y que es radicalmente distinto al que ide el autor Tambi n tuvieron que omitirse las menciones que en la obra se hacen a la homosexualidad y es menos evidente la escena de la violaci n Y entre todos estos cambios hay que hacer menci n especial al papel que interpreta Brando La obra es la lucha entre dos mundos, que, sin embargo, parecen moverse por el mismo motor, el deseo, y est enmarcada en la historia de una vida tr gica construida bajo el peso de las circunstancias y en complicidad con un temperamento y un car cter incapaces de sobreponerse a ellas Este fue el caso de Laura, la hija tullida de El zoo de cristal, y este es el caso de Blanche Dubois, un personaje que tambi n comparte rasgos con Amanda, la manipuladora madre de Laura, que sufre el contraste de vivir una existencia vulgar, rodeada de cosas y personas vulgares, tras una infancia y juventud esplendorosa vivida entre damas y caballeros Blanche es una v ctima del viejo mundo, rico, elegante, clasista y esclavista, apegado a la tierra, a las normas incuestionables y a las tradiciones, un mundo en decadenciaNo quiero realismo Quiero magia S , s , magia Trato de darle eso a la gente Le tergiverso las cosas No le digo la verdad Le digo lo que debiera ser la verdadEn el otro lado del ring se encuentra el pragmatismo de un capitalismo que no entiende de honores ni respeta estatus Stanley es decidido, firme, sin dobleces, sentimental, un ser primario siempre con miedo a que se tambalee su posici n de macho alfa, nada amigo de contemporizar, un extranjero que reniega de sus ra ces, una fuerza de la naturaleza que, con la ayuda del esnobismo aristocr tico de Blanche y de esa idea tan roussoniana sobre lo natural, nos empuja a simpatizar con l en un principio solo en un principio Dec a Tennesse WilliamsNo creo en h roes y villanos, creo tan s lo que las personas toman el buen o el mal camino, y no por elecci n, sino por necesidad o por ciertas influencias que les afectan y todav a no comprenden, por sus circunstancias y por sus antecedentesYo s creo en buenas y malas personas, yo s creo que existe el mal y que este no es solo consecuencia de las circunstancias, aunque s pueden propiciarlo y amplificarlo Yo s creo que Stanley Kowalsky es un ser ego sta y ruin, dominante y col rico, un maltratador que enmascara sus miedos y su necesidad de dominaci n en el af n de rescatar a su familia de las garras de la ninf mana Blanche y a la que impone su justo castigo por sus cuantiosas perversiones Quiz el final de la pel cula era necesario para contrarrestar esa imagen magn tica que Brando transmit a Y en medio de la lucha, Stella, la mujer de Stanley y hermana de Blanche, educada y acostumbrada a otros modos y a otros escenarios, se ha adaptado bien al mundo de su marido al que es capaz de perdonar una y otra vez sus ataques de c lera Puede que, una vez ca do el tel n, no tarde en descubrir qui n es en realidad Stanley Kowalski y reciba as el justo castigo por lo que no quiso impedir, de la misma forma que lo recibi Blanche, trastornada por los remordimientos al haber despreciado anta o a otro ser tan angustiado por sus conflictos personales como ella ahora.