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The opening of a play is very important; if it doesn’t grip then the playwright has lost his audience.
Williams uses a number of techniques to create an intriguing opening, including:
Using stage directions to create an intriguing setting
Creating engaging characters who are clearly going to enter into serious conflicts with each other
Creating a mysterious and psychologically intriguing story-line
Creating believable, engaging dialogue
Building up a sense of suspense and mystery
Deploying rich, poetic images that linger in the audience’s mind
Summoning an atmosphere of loss and regret
When my students read the scene, the vast majority of them were interested in three things: the mystery about Blanche and what’s happened to her, the conflicts that were already occurring with Stella, and the appearance of Stanley. One student commented upon the way in which Stanley is described as sexually classifying women; this, the student said, wasn’t the behaviour of a married man. The students sat in a circle and questioned each other about their own opinions; this worked well because they elaborated upon their initial opinions.