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A Streetcar Named Desire - Gavin Noble

Visual expression of the themes and characters seen in Tennessee Williams' classic 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Also includes hypothetical modern-day casting choices for each of the major characters.
by

Gavin Noble

on 6 June 2011

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Transcript of A Streetcar Named Desire - Gavin Noble

New Orleans over the summer of 1947. ...takes place in The play tells the story of tragic protangonist Blanche DuBois as she stays with her sister and brother-in-law: Stella and Stanley Kowalski. Playwright Tennessee Williams heavily exercises a theme of death as illusion, fantasy, and romance fall in the face of a crass, savage reality ROMANCE REALISM and the Southern belle is overwhelmed (and eventually driven insane) by the brutal truths of the Kowalski household. The of 'Streetcar' Personality Ambitions Relationships Personality Ambitions Relationships Personality Personality Ambitions Ambitions Relationships Relationships I never was hard or self-sufficient enough. When people are soft--soft people have got to shimmer and glow--they've got to put on soft colors, the colors of butterfly wings, and put a--paper lantern over the light... It isn't enough to be soft. You've got to be soft and attractive. And I--I'm fading now! I don't know how much longer I can turn the trick.

(Williams 79) Oh, I guess he's just not the type that goes for jasmine perfume, but maybe he's what we need to mix our blood now that we've lost Belle Reve.

(Williams 44) I don't want realism. I want magic!
(Williams 117) Because of hard knocks my vanity's been given. What I mean is--he thinks I'm sort of--prim and proper, you know! I want to deceive him enough to make him--want me...

(Williams 81) Never inside, I didn't lie in my heart...
(Williams 119) There is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes, that suggests a moth.

(Williams 15) I want you to look at my figure! You know I haven't put on one ounce in ten years, Stella?

(Williams 22) Precious lamb! you haven't said a word to me.
(Williams 19) I'm not in anything I want to get out of.
(Williams 65) ...there are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark--that sort of make everything else seem--unimportant.

(Williams 70) ...on our wedding night--soon as we came in here--he snatched off one of my slippers and rushed about the place smashing the light bulbs with it.
. . .
I was--sort of--thrilled by it.

(Williams 64) ...you've put on some weight, yes, you're just as plump as a little partridge! And it's so becoming to you!

(Williams 21) He acts like an animal, has an animal's habits! Eats like one, moves like one, talks like one! There's even something--subhuman--something not quite to the stage of humanity yet!
(Williams 72) You have no idea how stupid and horrid you're being!
(Williams 36) I'm sorry, but I haven't noticed the stamp of genius even on Stanley's forehead.
(Williams 50) Come to think of it--maybe you wouldn't be so bad to--interfere with...

(Williams 129) Ho-ho! There's nothing to be scared of. They're crazy about each other.
(Williams 61) Stella! My baby doll's left me!
(Williams 59) He is of medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly, compactly built. Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes.

(Williams 29) Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it...

(Williams 29) But some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable. It is the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty.

(Williams 126) I don't listen to you when you are being morbid!
(Williams 79) He heaves the package at her. She cries out in protest but manages to catch it; she laughs breathlessly.

(Williams 14) ...a gentle young woman, about twenty-five, and of a background obviously quite different from her husband's.

(Williams 13) Poker shouldn't be played in a house with women.
(Williams 58) You're a natural gentleman, one of the very few that are left in the world.
(Williams 91) [Mitch] crosses slowly back into the kitchen, glancing back at Blanche and coughing a little shyly.
(Williams 49) Well, I--don't see how anybody could be rude to you.
(Williams 93) This is totally worth a 90.

...

Right? I am ashamed of the way I perspire. My shirt is sticking to me.

(Williams 88) You are not the delicate type. You have a massive bone-structure and a very imposing physique.

(Williams 89) I weigh two hundred and seven pounds and I'm six feet one and one-half inches tall in my bare feet--without shoes on. And that is what I weigh stripped.

(Williams 90) ...about twenty eight or thirty years old, roughly dressed in blue denim work clothes. Stanley carries his bowling jacket and a red stained package from the butcher's.

(Williams 13) for 'Streetcar' Modern-day Title 1:
The five boxing wizards jump quickly?! Title 2:
The five boxing wizards jump quickly?! Body:
The five boxing wizards jump quickly?! I like you to be exactly the way you are, because in all my--experience--I have never known anyone like you.

(Williams 87) [Mother] worries because I'm not settled.
. . .
She wants me to be settled down before she--

(Williams 94) Blanche DuBois is an emotionally and physically worn out women. She is commonly and aptly described as a faded Southern belle. She is extremely self-conscious and insecure. Blanche also ties an especially large percentage of self-worth to her physical image. She depends on her looks a great deal. Blanche is also seen as rather pretentious in the casual environment of New Orleans. Despite her profound failures in the past, she still places herself above her company. She still believes she is of the elite. Blanche wants nothing more than to escape the reality she has ended up in. She wants to live a life she doesn't own and is therefore obsessed with false appearance. Blanche desperately attempts to appear to be in better shape than she is (both physically and emotionally). Blanche's social skills can best be described as delusional. She has absolved herself of any and all responsibility for her past failures as well as her ongoing tribulations. Blanche heavily relies on deception and deceit as tactics to development new relationships and support failing ones. This can be clearly seen in Blanche's attempt to generate a meaningful relationship with the contrasting Harold Mitchell. Stella is the most 'mild' of the Steetcar characters. She is almost always shown to have a calm, composed disposition. However, Stella DuBois is not, as one would expect, the most reasonable even rational character. She keeps quiet and to herself mostly; rarely are her opinions heard. Stella also has a tendency to ignore or deny any claims or accounts of bad news. Stella is content where she is. She sincerely loves her abusive husband and the physical relationship they hold. She rarely, if ever, speaks of change or the future. Stella and Stanley's relationship has a strong physical foundation. They make little effort to hide their intimacies and although Stanley has a tendency to physically and emotionally abuse his wife, Stella is pleased with the way things are. Stella often hints at her infatuation with Stanley's brutal, primitive nature. She has married an "alpha male" and she is proud of it. Stanley is a simple man in every sense of the word. He has a reckless disregard for the thoughts and opinions of any of the other characters in the play and doesn't seem to grasp the concept of 'feelings'. His actions are almost always harsh and primitive and he always does whatever he pleases. Stanley is a simple man of simple interests. Throughout the play, Stanley only seems to take a legitimate interest in women. Stanley's relationship with Stella is an uncertain and unstable one. Stanley can be incredibly abusive (especially when he's had something to drink) yet he has emotional breakdowns if Stella leaves him for just a moment. He's selfish in that he doesn't seem to care how Stella feels, only sticking around for his own gain. Mitch is a quiet, introverted man and a foil to Stanley. Women are a large part of Mitch's life (between his mother and Blanche) and his treatment of the opposite sex is in stark contrast to Stanley's. Blanche even calls him a "natural gentleman". However Mitch is still an old-fashioned type of man, treating all women as if they are delicate objects. Mitch wants little more to please his mother and settle down with a nice woman. Initially, he sees Blanche as a prime candidate and so pursues her throughout the play. Mitch is taken by Blanche as soon as they meet. When around one another, Mitch tiptoes and loses much of his self-confidence. Mitch is almost intimidated by Blanche and the her appearance of an elite background. Gretchen Mol should be cast for the leading role of Blanche. Not only does Mol follow Williams' physical description of Blanche perfectly, but she has experience playing similar roles. Gretchen Mol currently holds a recurring role on the award-winning series 'Boardwalk Empire', where she plays the character Gillian- a somewhat promiscuous and manipulative women. Gillian and Blanche have much in common and so Gretchen Mol has already demonstrated her aptitude at playing the character. Physically, she is also a prime candidate. Mol is of an appropriate age and is obviously quite beautiful- a deadringer for Blanche. Kelly Macdonald would make an excellent Stella. She could definitely be taken as Mol's younger sister and also has experience in similar roles as well as working opposite Gretchen in 'Boardwalk Empire'. Kelly Macdonald has played various supporting wife roles in the past and a pregnancy in 2008 gives her the indispensibile ability to relate to her role. In 'Boardwalk Empire', she plays Margaret Schroeder, a pregnant women with little income and an abusive husband. Physically, Macdonald is alo ideal. While still very pretty, Macdonald is much more subtle than her cast sister Mol. Macdonald is the girl-next-door to Mol's show-girl. For the key role of Stanley, Tom Hardy should be cast. In the play, Stanley is very little outside of a physical force and Hardy can fulfill that role wuite well. Since his breakthrough role in 'Inception', Hardy has been in high Hollywood demand and would be a valuable asset to a modern film version of Streetcar. Hardy also has no qualms about playing the bad guy. (See his role of Bane in the upcoming 'Dark Knight' sequel.) Lastly, Stephen Graham should be cast for the role of Harold Mitchell. Graham offers an exceptional foil for Hardy. His almost "sweet" appearance is an invaluable quality for Mitch. Graham has experience working with both of the DuBois sister choices with a role on 'Boardwalk Empire' and despite being born in the UK, Graham is known for doing a superb American accent. He was also in 'Snatch.'
And who didn't like 'Snatch.'? You're not clean enough to bring in the house with my mother.

(Williams 121)
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