Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar named Desire

The Most Difficult Plays – n°3

Here is the 3rd title of my summer series: The most difficult plays.
For A Streetcar named Desire, it is not the text that is insurmountable.
It’s an excellent text – but as it doesn’t offer the possibility of being bad, it’s not “difficult”.

On the other hand…

What do you wanna do against Brando ?


Yes yes I’m a girl – and far more sensitive to Brando than to Leigh – yes okay, I’m biased.

Nevertheless, it is first and foremost a masterful play written by Tennessee Williams.

After seeing “A Streetcar named Desire” I went to buy all the Tennessee Williams books that I could find: and so I could learn that he had written a considerable number of plays.

And some short-stories that would be worth adapting. His One-Arm left me… speechless. It seems to me that there have been film/theatre versions, but they have not had the worldwide success of the Streetcar named Desire.

Isn’t that a really nice challenge?

Play The Streetcar named Desire again?
Give it back its breath and life?
Send it to the stage, and blow the audience away?
The text is so excellent

Who to take on Brando?
Who to “forget” Elia Kazan’s version and come up with a new one?
That’s what theatre is all about: the text is common to all – the staging is particular to each director,
the play changes with each performance,
and the theatre lives, with its greatness and disappointments.

If ever I am offered this “Streetcar…”, if ever a rather crazy director feels the courage to launch it, if ever a magnificent actor confronts (in all respect) with the “Brando myth”, if ever an actress dares the same bet against Vivien Leigh, if ever what I see finally overflows with creativity – then obviously we will be delighted with this 21st century version.

Is it impossible?
Are you kidding me
Kazan’s version creates “its body and soul” by working in black and white.

The silences, the close-ups, the rhythm given by Brando’s stature.
Who said Brando “was” this character? No one did. He plays him beautifully. Why should he be the only one?

At first it wasn’t a movie, it was a Broadway hit.
So we can go back to the script without betraying anyone…

and there you have it: a “great actor” trap set… …for a good cause!

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