A Streetcar Named Desire
The play opens on the exterior of Elysian Fields, a two-story building between the train tracks and the river in New Orleans. Jazz piano music wafts through the air along with muddled conversation. On the stairs outside the building are Eunice (Stella and Stanley’s upstairs neighbor and landlord) and an African-American woman, also a resident of the neighborhood. Stanley arrives with his pal, Mitch, and calls up to his wife Stella, who appears on the first floor balcony. Gruffly, he tosses Stella a package of meat and tells her that he and Mitch are meeting Steve at the bowling alley. After a moment, Stella follows them away.
Blanche DuBois, Stella’s sister, a frazzled, stunning example of a fading Southern belle, arrives at the building’s doorsteps. Blanche is concerned that she’s at the wrong address, but Eunice assures her that she’s in the right place and leads her to Stella’s apartment. Stella returns home, thrilled to see her sister. Blanche, nearly hysterical, speaks of her distaste for Stella’s living situation. The reunion becomes tense. Stella’s quiet deference only prompts Blanche to launch deeper into her criticism and her story of woe. She informs Stella that her nerves (which she calms with whiskey) caused her to take a leave of absence from her job as a schoolteacher in Missouri and come to Stella’s home. She