Monday, 13 February 2017

Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I personally went into this book with an actors view, as opposed to a purely literary one. This isn't a novel. The words on the page can be the best thing you've ever read, but you always have to keep in mind the million ways the actor and director can interpret and display the words. There's a great saying we in the theatre community use: Show, not tell. The majority of the negative reviews I am seeing are people stating that Blanche's subsequent spiral came out of absolutely nowhere. However, for plays, subtext and foreshadowing is often not going to be spelt out for you directly in the text, I mean sometimes the playwrights grace us with some good stage directions that help (and it's even more amazing if they don't get cut!) but many playwrights only stick to the blocking necessities. By the time you are performing Streetcar you have already read the play many many times, dissected it, and have already added in the nuances of Blanche's breakdown; and on the other hand if you are an audience member it doesn't need to be spelt out for you textually because the actress is hopefully doing her job and showing this to you. This is where the theatre element comes in.
I'm probably explaining it poorly, and I apologise if this seems a bit ranty, but I've developed a pet peeve regarding the way people compare scripts to full length novels.

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