'A Streetcar Named Desire is a play of mythological centrality, redefining American Theatre with its indelible heightened poetic naturalism, breaking down the taboo that sexual obsession and sexual violence could not be shown on stage...' Trevor Nunn
A Streetcar Named Desire shows a turbulent confrontation between traditional values in the American South - an old-world graciousness and beauty running decoratively to seed - set against the rough-edged, aggressive materialism of the new world. Through the vividly characterised figures of Southern belle Blanche Dubois, seeking refuge from physical ugliness in decayed gentility, and her brutal brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski, Tennessee Williams dramatises his sense of the South's past as still active and often destructive in modern America. This revised edition features a new production history of the play that considers both stage and screen presentations, an updated bibliography and extensive notes on the language of the play. Commentary and notes by Patricia Hern and Michael Hooper.
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'Tennesee Williams' 1947 masterpiece of broken dreams and tragic collapse' Michael Coveney, Independent, 29.7.09 'still ground-breaking dramatic, almost filmic, deliquescent structure and poetry' Michael Coveney, Independent, 29.7.09 'Few playwrights match Tennessee Williams when it comes to capturing the poetry of despair and A Streetcar Named Desire was one of his most heart-rending creations.' Siobhan Murphy, Metro (London), 30.7.09 'Williams's characters are voluptuaries with injured souls, and his dialogue contains moments of anguished lyricism.' Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard, 29.7.09 'a great and seductive play' Sarah Hemming, Financial Times, 31.7.09 'The battle between Blanche and Stanley over living space is a microcosm of the greater battle that the two wage over Stella and for control of the future - a future that doesn't have room for both of them.' Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 21.9.10 'If Blanche and Stanley battle over the future, Blanche and Stella are trying to protect the past - childhood innocence itself.' Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 21.9.10
About Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 and started writing aged forteen as a means of "escape from a world of reality in which I felt acutely uncomfortable". He spent the Depression years working in a shoe factory, before eventually getting his plays professionally produced in the 1940s, starting with The Glass Menagerie which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. In 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire opened in New York and ran for 885 performances. Williams died in 1983.
A "Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams
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