Hello everyone!!! Welcome back to Unknown Playwrights. I know the blog hasn’t been a priority this summer, but it touches my heart to see so many people visiting it.
We’re going to look at a monologue here through the lens of different cultures. While researching Portuguese monologues, I discovered Blanche’s “He was a boy..” monoloue from a A Streetcar Named Desire is popular on YouTube for some reason. I found a Portuguese site with Blanche’s monologue. Here is what the site says about Blanche’s role in the play:
[translation after the Portuguese]
Translation: In the play, Blanche flees Laurel to her sister Stella Kowalski’s home in New Orleans, due to her involvement with one of her students. Stella lives in an abusive relationship with her husband Stanley and the arrival of her sister disturbs the system of mutual dependence in the house, as she lives in a world of fantasies and illusions mixed with reality and ends up influencing those around her.
Blanche DuBois, Southerner, and English teacher tries to cover up reality at all costs. She disguises her disappointments, including her biggest disappointment, her brief marriage broken up by her husband Allan Gray’s homosexuality, and his subsequent suicide, through the idea of still being attractive and the possibility of new love conquests.
I asked American playwright Mattie Rydalch her thoughts on this interpretation and this is what she had to say: “I felt more like grief was behind a lot of the fantasies she had, and then that final trauma from Stanley tipped her over the edge in the end. She’s always seemed to me like a person that a lot of crappy things have happened to, and that she’s been driven to detachment from reality because of grief and trauma.”
Of course these are simply two folks’ opinions. We do also have a neat little infographic from Shmoop about Blanche:
He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was sixteen, I made the discovery–love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow, that’s how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded. There was something different about the boy, a nervousness, a softness and tenderness which wasn’t like a man’s, although he wasn’t the least bit effeminate looking–still–that thing was there…. He came to me for help. I didn’t know that. I didn’t find out anything till after our marriage when we’d run away and come back and all I knew was I’d failed him in some mysterious way and wasn’t able to give the help he needed but couldn’t speak of! He was in the quicksands and clutching at me–but I wasn’t holding him out, I was slipping in with him! I didn’t know that. I didn’t know anything except I loved him unendurably but without being able to help him or help myself. Then I found out. In the worst of all possible ways. By coming suddenly into a room that I thought was empty–which wasn’t empty, but had two people in it… the boy I had married and an older man who had been his friend for years. Afterwards we pretended that nothing had been discovered. Yes, the three of us drove out to Moon Lake Casino, very drunk and laughing all the way. We danced the Varsouviana! Suddenly in the middle of the dance the boy I had married broke away from me and ran out of the casino. A few moments later–a shot!
I ran out–all did!–all ran and gathered about the terrible thing at the edge of the lake! I couldn’t get near for the crowding. Then somebody caught my arm. “Don’t go any closer! Come back! You don’t want to see!” See? See what! Then I heard voices say– Allan! Allan! The Gray boy! He’d stuck the revolver into his mouth, and fired–so that the back of his head had been–blown away!
It was because–on the dance-floor–unable to stop myself–I’d suddenly said–“I saw! I know! You disgust me!” And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this–kitchen–candle…
Anyways, I thought it would be interesting to see how different cultures portray the same monologue. Hopefully, watching the Portuguese can somehow influence or help any English-speaking actors reading this. The English monologues will follow the Portuguese.
And now in the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Hansberry aka English:
English D (from a Brazilian)
Here is a type of trailer for the production in Portugal mentioned earlier:
And I know what you’re thinking: What about Korean? Well, we got the first 20 minutes of the play in Korean.
Join us next week for more monologues!!!