Scott Anderson ID# 2682689 Th 1001-001 April 24, 2007 Critique 2: A Streetcar Named Desire The play “A Streetcar Named Desire is a famous American play written by Tennessee Williams. The play takes place in the New Orleans in the 1947 and deals with a culture clash between two symbolic characters, Blanche DuBois who is a snobby fading Southern belle and Stanley Kowalski who is a rising blue color industrial worker. The play begins with Blanche arriving at her sister Stella’s house. Immediately Blanche presents herself as unstable by having multiple drinks of alcohol while making an excuse before each drink. When Stella returns home and finds Blanche the conflict begins almost instantly. Blanche claims her job has given her some time off to calm her nerves. Blanche displays herself as upper class and shows her disapproval of Stella’s living situation and lifestyle throughout the play yet has no problem accepting all generosities that Stella and Stanley offer her. I felt annoyed by Blanche almost immediately due to my small tolerance for snobby people and those who look down upon others. As the story continues the viewer finds that much of what Blanche says is greatly embellished or completely made up. Her false reality is an illusion she presents to shield herself from others and from reality. The truth is that Blanche is completely broke and throws her aging self at most any man, single or married, in an effort to find stability in her life. The object of her affection in New Orleans is one of Stanley’s work and poker buddies Mitch. Mitch is much younger than her but is desired due to his charm. Near the end Stanley finds out the truth about Blanche’s recent past and presents her lies to both Mitch and Stella. Stanley notifies Blanche he has purchased her a train ticket out of town and they are soon in a large quarrel that ends with Blanche being raped. In the next scene Blanche is taken away by asylum workers and the play ends. I thought that the play as a whole was very good. This was the first UMD theatrical production I have viewed and I was very surprised by the professionalism. Not only the professionalism of the actors and actresses shown through their believable presentations of their characters but by all aspects of the production. I found the acting very believable and the arguments and emotions presented by characters were very engaging and believable. Initially upon entering the theater I was amazed by the complexity of the set. I am an engineering student so I don’t get much exposure to these areas of UMD. I would imagine a similar reaction of amazement if a theatre student walked into the engineering robotics lab or viewed an engineer’s senior design presentation. They most likely don’t know what is going on behind the closed doors of engineering labs either. I thought that the stage was very believable as New Orleans in the 1940’s. The costumes were outfits that resembled the styles of the time both of blue collar folk shown by Stanley and Stella and upper class attire as shown by Blanche. I particularly enjoyed the sound effects and the illusion they presented such as a streetcar passing by. The lighting was very good and emphasized the focal point of the play while helping to present the emotions and themes of each scene. There was a streetlight outside, a fan hanging in the kitchen with three bulbs attached and a light in the bedroom. Candles were used in some scenes for light as well as to set the mood and represent character emotions. A theme of the play is illusion verses reality and is shown though the actions of Blanche. Blanche shows a preference to illusion over reality to hide herself from her own personal failure and inability to confront the truth. She shows her preference to fantasy by putting a lampshade over a bare light bulb, writing fantasy letters to a Texas oil tycoon and her abuse of alcohol. Another theme presented in the play the new South verses the old South. Blanche represents the old South while Stanley represents the new South where chivalry is dieing and the working class mentality is prevailing. Desire is the central theme of the play. Blanche attempts to deny it, but we learn later in the play that desire is one of her main motivations. Her past desires have caused her to be driven out of town due to her relationship with a young student. Desire is also the glue of Stella and Stanley's relationship. Desire is Blanche's greatest shortcoming because she cannot find a healthy way of dealing with it. Another theme is loneliness shown by Blanche. She desperately seeks companionship and protection from strangers. She has never recovered from her past tragic love for her first husband. The play as a whole was very good. Even though it was three hours and forty-five minutes from start to finish including intermissions the play had no problem holding my attention the entire time. Watching “A Streetcar Named Desire” was very enjoyable and has influenced me to see more UMD productions in the future.