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A Streetcar Named Desire - National Theatre Live

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by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
Published December 30th 2014
This well-known Tennessee Williams play is part of the live screenings at the Dendy Portside cinema from the Young Vic Theatre company. It is a powerful drama centred on Blanche's crumbling world as she is forced to come to terms with a brutal side of life she has been protected from until now.

The Young Vic opened in 1970; the philosophy is to 'produce great plays for great audiences now and in the future '. The audience is in the round i.e. the stage is the centre of the theatre which constantly rotates representing the madness that Blanche spirals into.

She arrives on stage with lots of luggage, well dressed and declares to her sister 'what are you doing in a place like this this?'. Stan Kowalski [Ben Foster], Stella's husband comes home and the question is answered. Stella [Vanessa Kirby] has married a very ordinary man who doesn't want Blanche and her 'la de da' ways criticising him, his way of life or his friends. Stella is torn between her love for her sister and her brutal husband who she loves.

Blanche has lost what was left of the family fortune, has been run out of town and tries to rebuild her life, which she almost does until gossip reaches Stan's ears and ruins her chance. Blanche is vulnerable, delusional and fragile and gradually descends into madness, which is helped along with Stan's constant and deliberate cruelty.

Gillian Anderson has her dream acting job and for three and a half hours the tension doesn't wane - when Blanche is finally taken away, it is almost too hard to watch. Since 1947 this play has been staged, filmed and studied, recognised as the great American classic. Williams draws from his own life, many of the characters he finds within himself and one of his sisters, which makes for a very human play. A must see for melodrama fans.
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