Category Archives: Productions

What are your thoughts on the filmed versions of A Streetcar Named Desire?

The 1951 version of the play, directed by Elia Kazan, and starring  Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, is one of the most famous films ever made. What makes it interesting as an interpretation of the play? What do you think of the acting? The mis-en-scene? The use of music and sound effects?

Compare it with the Jessica Lange version, made in 1995, how does the film differ from this more “stagey” version?

How are the interpretations of Blanche and Stella different? What is the effect of these different interpretations?

Why is Scene 3 of the play so violent and disturbing?

Learning Objectives: to develop your reading skills by learning how to work out the underlying meanings of the play — its symbolism, its themes, its use of subtext. To reflect upon the key themes and topics of the play; domestic violence and sexual desire. To learn about patriarchal discourses of control and power. To develop your own powers of reader-response.

Some useful terminology:

Patriarchal discourses: these are groups of words, phrases which are used by men to assert control and power over women. You can look for them in any text (every day speech, plays, poems etc) The whole point of these words is they carry the message that men are better than women.

Feminist discourses: these are discourses (groups of words) that assert women’s EQUALITY with men. They are NOT the opposite of patriarchal discourses which assert that men are better than women. The opposite of “patriarchal discourses” is “matriarchal” discourses, where women assert that they are better than men (very rare!)

Respond down below by writing your own “reader response” diary about the scene, describing your own feelings at different points in the scene. What do you think of Stanley, Stella, Blanche and Mitch at different points in the scene? When are the times that you are irritated/intrigued/annoyed/scared etc of certain characters?

Some points to think about in your diary

Stanley explodes in Scene 3. Why do you think Williams has characterised him in this way? How is masculinity represented here? What patriarchal discourses are used by him and why? Do you think Williams is trying to say anything about the ways in which men seek to control women?


Here some excerpts from the 1951 film of this scene:

The Rhumba dance:

Stanley crying for Stella:

A rather entertaining school production:

How successful is the opening of Streetcar — Scene 1?

Please reply to this post for homework!

The opening of the play is crucial for many reasons; firstly, it has to engage the audience’s interest in the situation, the characters, the themes. How does this play do this?

Look at this version to assist you and you may refer to it in your reply.


A documentary about Tennessee William’s life and work

Tennessee William’s play is a classic of American theatre, but in order to appreciate its brilliance, it’s good to know a little of the background to the play. This is an interesting introduction to William’s life.