A Snarky Summary
Ft. A Streetcar Named Desire
 
All right so let’s first get one thing clear: this play has almost nothing to do with a streetcar. Stop looking.
 
American film director, producer and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola annoyingly states that this play is “lyrical and poetic and human and heartbreaking and memorable and funny.” Thanks, Coppola, because we weren’t already confused enough.
 
In Coppola’s defense, some of Blanche DuBois’s crazy may have infected Coppola’s thoughts once he completed reading. But to be honest, who doesn’t want to read about a psychotic woman who doesn’t see the truth around her or in herself? It’s like when someone says “k” to you: you just cannot stop analyzing. Blanche is what we like to think of as the girl who thinks she can do no wrong. She sees herself as Beyoncé, but we see her as Britney Spears via 2007. Oy, not pretty. It is quickly discovered that Blanche Dubois is an alcoholic and has many delusions of grandeur and she is on her way from the south to visit her sister, Stella and Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski. Blanche’s main problem is that she lives in a fantasy world and cannot see the reality around her. She wants to marry Mitch, but why? Because he “likes” her? They barely know each other! Get with it, sister. Who can blame her though? Fantasy always sounds better than reality when you are an alcoholic.
 
This story turns into Stanley trying to find out all of Blanche’s secrets that she decides to suppress, or simply pretend do not exist. This concerning relationship turns into built up tension that can only be discovered when the story is fully read through. What’s a scandalous play without a little drama? Blanche helps us never discover this fear, as she is constantly melodramatic from start to finish.
 
Williams could have concluded the ending happily, with Stella helping her delusional sister, but instead something darker happens. Stanley takes advantage of his wife’s sister, becoming the villain in the story. Yet, Blanche is the one who suffers in the end as she “relies on strangers” while being escorted out of Stella’s house to an mental institution (insert judgmental gasp here). Are you kidding me, Williams? What happened to you that made you so morally disturbed.
 
Still a little frustrated? Confused? Unsatisfied? In the last few pages of the play, you will discover “Tennessee Williams interviews himself.” Pause for your “aaaaalllrightyyy then.” They (as in Tennessee Williams and Tennessee Williams) have a very raw interview where it is discovered that maybe Williams is a little off, like Blanche.

Jamie Rothberg | Writer | Chicago

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