Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stars taking up collections, final curtain

I played A Young Collector in A Streetcar Named Desire forty-five years ago. When I did, I stepped into a complete world. In this short scene, I have come to collect for the newspaper, and Blanche Dubois, alone in the house, has not wanted me to leave. She's used several slim excuses for me to stay, but now, finally, I am about to leave.  I think.        

            Young Man:
Well, I'd better be going--
             Blanche [stopping him]:
Young man!
     [He turns. She takes a large gossamer scarf from the trunk and drapes it about 
     her shoulders.]
     [The young man clears his throat and looks yearningly at the door.]
 Young man! Young man! Young, young, young man! Has anyone ever told you that you look like a young Prince out of the Arabian Nights?
    [The Young Man laughs uncomfortably and stands like a bashful kid. Blanche speaks 
    softly to him.]
Well, you do, honey lamb! Come here. I want to kiss you, just once, softly and sweetly on your mouth!
    [Without waiting for him to accept, she crosses to him and presses her lips to his.]
Now run along, now, quickly! It would be nice to keep you, but I’ve got to be good--and keep my hands off children.
    [He stares as her for a moment. She opens the door for him and blows a kiss at him as 
    he goes down the steps with a dazed look.]

She kissed me. This older woman who was everything that was forbidden to me. Those lips!  Now, in a few minutes, everything in my life was changed. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay and I wanted her to kiss me again. I wanted to touch her dress and her face and I wanted her to teach me everything she knew and to talk to me while she did about how I looked like a young Prince. I was a Prince. I was not a Collector. Her kiss remained on my lips. I walked slowly away and then off the stage. But that mean nothing, the exit. Tennessee Williams' world stayed with me. I walked within it for for hours and hours. (And still do, in a way.) Blanche DuBois had commandeered my heart. I had to see her again. And, as luck would have it, I would, the next night, at eight o'clock.


  1. I love this ending. Is it Sisyphus or Tantalus or Paolo and Francesca? Forever kissed, forever dismissed, forever frustrated, forever repeated. Or at least for the length of the play's run.

  2. Thanks, John. I always like Paolo and Francesca, because it all took place in a library.