Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Streetcar Named Desire

Dark. Really Dark. Typically when I watch an old movie or read a classic the story comes across quaint. Not that I think today's media is done better--I don't--but the scandalous and violent scenes from previous generations simply don't have the same impact on us as they had on our parents. I would be hard pressed to imagine a modern teen being shocked by Elvis's dancing, Rhett Butler's kissing, or finding out it was Sidney Poitier who's coming to dinner. With all that said, I was slammed by A Streetcar Named Desire. It was as if I expected to walk into a clean and comfortable hotel room and instead walked into my parents having sex.

Like with all stories worth recommending, I am reticent to give too much away. What is the right balance between disclosure and silence? The measured development of this slow, Southern tragedy is worth discovering on one's own. Suffice to say that the crescendo hits hard. Tennessee Williams compels us forward with an eloquent vernacular that is believable and beautiful. The characters and their interplay capture both New Orleans culture and tell a universal tale. I loved this play.

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