"A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams.

Essay by StargirlHigh School, 12th gradeA, September 2003

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Drama Studies

Task ONE- Performance Skills

A Streetcar named Desire is a play both grimly naturalistic and poetically symbolic, written by playwright Tennessee Williams. It is set in New Orleans post the depression and World War II. The characters in A Streetcar Named Desire are trying to rebuild their lives in post-war America. Much of the characters and themes found in Williams's dramas were derived from the playwright's own life. Alcoholism, depression, desire, loneliness, and insanity were all included. Typical of Williams' style, Streetcar portrays the main character as Blanche DuBois, a, faded Southern belle who represents the culture and beauty of the past and her evident distaste for her younger sister, Stella's, husband, Stanley Kowalski, a lower class Polish man who is the personification of modern practicality, crudeness, cynicism, and brutality. Through this play we follow Blanche and her descent into madness and lunacy.

This play is written in the style of theatre is known as expressionism/naturalism.

Expressionism in drama and art was a movement that rejected traditional methods of representing objective reality. Instead, expressionists exaggerated and distorted aspects of the outside world in order to 'express' certain moods and feelings. Expressionism continues to be an important influence on experimental theatre and art. Williams has used this style to portray his themes, ideas and characters in the play A Streetcar Named Desire. The character of Blanche, was actually a 'repertoire of the womanly characteristics' displayed by Tennessee Williams. Naturalism can refer to the technique of portraying life in a scientifically detached manner; however, it is generally used to refer specifically to a nineteenth century movement in art and literature where the artists or authors claimed to be objective observers. Naturalist writers were strongly influenced by evolutionary theory, and saw human beings as creatures constrained by heredity and environment,