Fun fact: I had to perform one of Blanche’s monologues in front of my theatre class for a grade. I’m hoping it didn’t make Williams roll over in his grave.
Not because it was so terrible, but because at the time, I didn’t get the nuance and subtleties. And that is part of what makes Williams’ work so amazing. But in my defense, who assigns that to a ninth grader?
Any way, Streetcar. I’ve already talked about how much I love Williams so I won’t rehash it, but safe to say the love is still going strong. And nothing gets me hype like reading an amazing script so I dusted off my copy gave it a reread.
If you haven’t read Streetcar, or seen the movie, you’re missing out.
It’s essentially a play about being a human and humans’ relationship with reality. Blanche arrives at her sister’s door, large luggage in tow, insisting she needs a place to stay. Her sister Stella invites her in to the apartment she shares with her husband Stanley even though she’s very pregnant and there isn’t a ton of space. Blanche things the arraignments are beneath the sisters and more than once tries to convince Stella to leave her husband.
But Stanley has a strong grip and a short temper and Stella doesn’t leave him. Even after multiple terrible occurrences when she should. Not only that, but Stanley overhears Blanche’s assessment of his character and becomes hostile.
It only spirals from there. We learn why Blanche is really there, how she lost her house, and what she was doing to get fired from being a teacher. At which point it becomes obvious why she’s an alcoholic. We also learn that Stanley is the worst and that Stella will refuse to see the truth when it’s right in front of her face. The ending is tragic so I don’t recommend this one as a pick me up.
But that’s actually probably the best ending for a story like this.
It is a cast of wholly broken characters trying to survive in the realities they constructed for themselves. The men are largely successful, the women are not. We see the way perception and acceptance of events that are factually true can color a person’s whole life.
Mostly though, it’s just so well done. The setting, the characters, the elements Williams uses to construct then deconstruct this whole world in one apartment on a street corner in New Orleans. It’s incredible.
So, if you want to read something kind of short but totally amazing, or you’re looking for something with really deep, complex characters, then this is the right script for you!