STREETCAR A02

PLASTIC THEATRE

  • William's symbolic use of setting, music and props to form an organic dramatic experience. 
  • For Williams, a play should express universal insight into the human condition and this was to be achieved with his modes of dramatic expression such as props and music. 
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FORM

  • Implications that the play was categorized as a 20th-century American Tragedy whereby Williams wrote about the 'little people' who experienced downfall and complex emotions Blanche was a demonic creature, whose feelings were far too great to contain without madness and thus falls  
  • SOCIAL REALIST DRAMA: a new taste for realism in post-war America contributed to the success of the play. 
  • Realistic depiction of the melting pot working class in New Orleans
  • Set after the seismic upheaval of WW2 whereby Williams dramatizes the eco-contribution of men like Stanley who underpin the new age of prosperity. 
  • MEMORY PLAY: Centres on a character undergoing an intense psychological crisis.
  • seeks to convey symbolic truth rather than a naturalistic imitation of reality. 
  • Williams' use of the Varsouviana allows Blanche to move in and out of her memories of the past, which adds to the audiences' pity and sympathy, even tho it's artificial
  • Williams has organised the structural framing whereby we sympathise with Blanche 
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STRUCTURE

  • WILLIAMS UTILISES ELEMENTS OF THE CLASSICAL DRAMATIC STRUCTURE OF CRISIS & CLIMAX.
  • THE ON STAGE ACTION IS SET IN MOTION BY THE ARRIVAL OF AN INTRUDER (BLANCHE) WHO invades and disrupts stable environment before being expelled
  • THE 11 SCENES: traces the development of the relationships in the play 
  • Characteristics of classical tragedy: the crisis identified when she reveals the truth about her past to Mitch, the climax as her **** by Stan, and the denouncement is her removal to the asylum. 
  • The episodic structure allows Will to reveal crucial snippets of her past and this heightens tension. 
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STAGE DIRECTIONS

Theatrical stage directions that seem at one lyrical, symbolic and almost poetic

The language of the play often functions as an extended narrative.

  • Daintly dressed in white, delicate beauty must avoid strong light: Southern belle outfit as symbolic of her outsider status, ironic symbolism of the white clothes connotes to purity and innocence. 
  • uncertain manner suggests a moth - lyrical, dreamy description of a frightened moth

Stage Directions: Williams has positioned Blanche and Staley as adversities from the outset ( POWER AND PRIDE ... ANIMAL JOY IN HIS BEING- symbolic archetypes reflecting a wider cultural debate about the OLD SOUTH & NEW POST WAR USA 

Stage Directions in the POKER NIGHT demonstrate the key features of Stanley's signature flamboyance & masculinity - men at peak of physical manhood, raw colours - intense colour pallete distingusiable from Blache's defining white - these powerfully evocative stage directions provide sense of narrative continuity. 

Stage directions emphasisse critical aspects of Stanley's 'alpha male' personality. Impressive physical presence and his arrogant confidence to attract

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SOUND EFFECTS

  • Williams' use of sound is equally rich, symbolic &non naturalistic
  • use of artificial sound effects to heighten audiences awareness of the physchological state of his characters
  • blue piano & varsouviana evoke Blanche's new surroundings and her tragic past

BLUE PIANO

  • Represents the vibrant, joyful WC culture of multicultural NEW ORLEANS - sound effects evoke the essence of everyday life and also coheres the fluctuating emotions of the protagonist
  • Blue piano fragmenting along with Blanche's hopes for a secure future with Mitch echoes her psychological collapse
  • **** scene- his aggressively dominating physical actions are underscored and reinforced by the jazz of blue piano

VARSOUVIANA

  • most fam stage effect typical of Williams' dramatic style
  • reflective of the psychological state of Blanche - artificial sound effect can only be heard in her imagination 
  • the polka music allows her to move in and out of her memories - a framework for her memories of Allan's suicide encourages us to sympathise
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SYMBOLIC MOTIFS

  • Williams uses motifs and symbols to create a sense of structural coherence
  • Coke stain on dress - innocent past tarnished
  • Baths - cleanse herself, a revival, maintain youth and beauty
  • Lantern - yearning to disguise reality and substitute 'magic'
  • Blanche and Stanley as representatives of two clashing cultures
  • Desire and Cemeteries = eros ( desire for life, to be loved, to belong) and Thanatos (longing for death to give her agency by means of reuniting with Allan and escaping harsh reality)
  • Liet motifs - Sound of the Varsouviana and the BLUE PIANO
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THE NEW AMERICAN SOUTH & NEW ORLEANS

  • Blanche reveals in enduing the memories of the antebellum South as a reminder of chivalrous gallantry. 
  • Finds herself a stranger and incongruous to the setting of New Orleans
  • Williams' dramatises a brutal self-seeking culture clash bw New Orleans industrial worker and his aristocratic intellectual rival
  • determined to destroy the threat she poses in his brave new world
  • Blanche persists in maintiaing image of a Southern aristo than facing the truth about her penniless promiscuous existence
  • a lost soul trapped in limbo between the old and new world
  • Belle Reve is the objective correlative for BLANCHE 'S IDENTITY AS A Southern Belle - it is a lost, beautiful dream rich with fam heritage and pride 
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ROMANTICISM

  • Williams himself was a cultural and artistic outsider  - a poet in a practical world and a homosexual in a heterosexual society ( Tischler)
  • Regretted the loss of the SOuth's traditional creed of elegance, beauty and gallantry and his plays are scattered with romantic, lost dreamers like Blanche who are tragically outsiders in New America
  • Often use sex and alcohol as a means of escape
  • BLANCHE USES HER SEXUALITY AND FANTASY AS A COPING MECHANISM AND MEANS OF AGENCY
  • lORD BYRON, WHP HAD INFLUENCED THE ROMANTIC  MOVEMENT HIMSELF WAS EXILED - this symbolises the quest for freedom, mobility and space in a harsh and unsympathetic world just like Blanche 
  • For example, leading female characters of melodramas were treacherous femmes fatales who broke rules of mainstream society and punished by their actions, just like Blanche 
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