Musings on Streetcar with Civic Rep
I am extremely honored to be a part of the amazing cast and team of Streetcar Named Desire has been for me. Everyone in the cast and crew is dedicated to telling the the story, and has so much experience and knowledge in theater that I felt I have learned from. I think that the love and strong intentions driving this production really bring relevance to the new theatre company. Yes, it's exciting that the show and the wonderful people in it got some buzz, but more than that I think that the show was exciting because everyone was so dedicated to the world Williams paints.
My earliest exposure to Tennessee Williams was during High School when I came across this play. I was much younger (than my current age while playing the young young young collector) and did not fully understood the depth of turmoil and separation she experiences as she is pulled away from our universal idea of love.
In Vedic teachings there is the concept of the duality of Sukkha (ease, and happiness) and Dukkha (Suffering, Anxiety). The first of the the four Noble Truths in Buddhist teachings is: "Life is Dukkha." Dukkha is explained as:
- The obvious physical and mental suffering associated with birth, growing old, illness and dying.
- The anxiety or stress of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing.
- A basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all forms of existence, because all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance.
In many ways, Blanche is pulled down by Dukkha as she is hit with loss of love, guilt, and addiction pulling her away from Sukkha; happiness and ease as talked about in her youth. The scene with the young collector almost suspends the reality of the flat, the French Quarter, and Dukkha in Blanche's life. For me, the beauty of the scene with the Young Collector (and many of Williams' plays) is within the anagnorisis that audience undergoes as they come to realize the underlying Dukkha in Blanche's life, and maybe even in their own. I think these are the most exciting moments in theatre. Its in the moments where we realize that we are not so far off from the characters on stage that we realize what it means to be human.
The messages that Williams leaves in his plays are Universal. However, I like the idea that there is still a shade of unsolved mystery to them. While I definitely have a stronger grip now on what Williams has to say about what it means to be human, I still have more life to live and more revelations to live into. As an archeologist (of sorts) of the lives of Williams' characters, as well as simply being a human, I have more to uncover.
One of my favorite quotes from Letters to a Young Poet that has popped up in all areas of my life (and even once from L. Zane) says it all: