A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

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Somehow I’ve managed to live this long without ever having seen the movie or play.  Not sure how that happened, but the situation has been rectified, as I’ve just read the play…

Stella and Stanley, a married couple living in a small apartment in New Orleans, have been just fine until Stella’s sister Blanche appears at their doorstep, apparently with no other place to go.  Blanche, with her superior airs and haughty attitude, reports that the family home has been lost and she is on leave of absence from her job as a teacher,  and that she will only be staying with Stella for a short visit.  As the visit becomes prolonged, the truth about Blanche slowly unwinds and Stella must, sadly, confront the truth about her sister.

The play is truly a timepiece, set in the late 1940’s, with music, word phrasing, and even the prejudices that were characteristic of the time.  However, at the same time, it deals with big issues that are really timeless – marital relationships, post-traumatic mental illness, family stressors, and so on.  The characters are drawn so eloquently – with simple actions and articulate dialogue.  Even the stage directions are poetically written and extremely precise.

It is clear how this play has gotten so much acclaim – it really is a “must read.”

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