Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: A Streetcar Named Desire (Blanche)/Um Bonde Chamado Desejo (Blanche) – Tennessee Williams

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.

Via here.
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A Streetcar Named Desire is Twitterrific

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]

Na peça, Blanche foge de Laurel para a casa da irmã Stella Kowalski em New Orleans, devido ao seu envolvimento com um de seus alunos. Stella vive um relacionamento abusivo com seu marido Stanley e a chegada da irmã perturba o sistema de mútua dependência na casa, pois esta vive um mundo de fantasias e ilusões misturadas a sua realidade e acaba influenciando aqueles ao seu redor.
Blanche DuBois, sulista, e professora de inglês tenta encobrir a realidade a todo o custo. Disfarça suas desilusões inclusive a maior delas, seu breve casamento desfeito pela homossexualidade do marido Allan Grey e seu subsequente suicídio, através da ideia de se mostrar ainda atraente e com a possibilidade de novas conquistas amorosas.

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.

A dramatic reading

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:

FInd the fascinating original here.
It’s interesting because in English productions, I think most actors go for a New Orleans accent or at least a generic Southern accent. But the part would lose that characteristic in translation.
So, this time around, we’ll have both Portuguese and English versions.
A graphic from a production in Portugal. Note the use of “eléctrico” for streetcar instead of the Brazilian “bonde.”
Here is the text of the Portuguese:
Não. Era um menino. Apenas um menino, quando eu era ainda muito jovem. Aos dezesseis anos fiz uma grande descoberta – o amor! Foi tudo tão simples, tão completo. Foi assim como se acendesse uma luz intensa, num lugar que estivesse sempre no escuro. Foi assim que ele iluminou esse mundo para mim. Mas não tive sorte. Desiludi-me logo.
Havia nele qualquer coisa muito estranha… Um nervosismo, uma doçura, uma delicadeza que não eram próprios de um homem – se bem que ele não tinha nada de efeminado. Mas havia qualquer coisa… Ele me procurava em busca de ajuda. E eu não sabia disso… Foi então, que eu percebi que o havia enganado de uma maneira misteriosa e que eu não lhe estava dando a ajuda de que ele necessitava, mas da qual não podia falar!
Ele estava num atoleiro e agarrava-se a mim. Mas eu não o estava puxando para fora. Eu estava afundando com ele. E eu não sabia de nada…
And of course it’s a Korean poster for the play.
And in English (but I added more of the follow-up):

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.

Português A

Português B

Português C

Português D

Português E

Português F

Português G


And now in the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Hansberry aka English:

English A


English B

English C

English D (from a Brazilian)

English E

English F

English G

English H


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!!!