“Hey Stella!” The image of Marlon Brando, drunk, sweating and on his knees, howling for his pregnant wife Stella to take him back, is an indelible part of our popular culture.
Just as Romeo And Juliet gripped the Elizabethans, Tennessee Williams’s drama A Streetcar Named Desire has blazed across stage and screen for decades.
It’s been made into an opera (by Andre Previn), a ballet and three films, most famously by director Elia Kazan in 1951, with Brando, Vivien Leigh and Kim Hunter in the leads. Pedro Almodovar’s award-winning film All About My Mother features a Spanish-language version of the play.
Matt Groenig has nominated A Streetcar Named Marge as his all-time favourite episode of The Simpsons.
Even Sesame St has presented A Streetcar Named Monster with Grover bellowing to Stella to let him in because he’d forgotten his keys.
Williams himself regarded the work as a “tragedy of misunderstandings and insensitivity”.
Director Benedict Andrews, who presented a stripped-back production of the play in Berlin before directing Gillian Anderson in this acclaimed Young Vic staging first seen in 2014, goes one step further: “All the characters in Streetcar are objects of desire for Tennessee Williams. It’s like he’s in drag and he either wanted to be them or fuck them.”
Andrews’ Young Vic production features Ben Foster as Stanley, Vanessa Kirby as Stella and Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois.
It can be viewed here, free, from 5am AEST, May 22, for seven days.