A Streetcar Named Desire Scene 1
The play opens looking into a two story flat on Elysian Fields street in New Orleans. It is the home of Stanley and Stella Kowalski. They live on the bottom floor while Eunice and Steve Hubbell live upstairs. The neighborhood is a mixed-race community and is located between the L and N streetcar tracks. This area is teems with many pubs, bars and bowling alleys.
Stanley and his friend Mitch walk to the house looking for Stella. Stanley throws meat at Stella to cook and tells her that he is going bowling. She wants to come and watch him play. She leaves the stage to follow him.
Blanche Dubois walks onstage looking for her sister Stella. She has a suitcase and is very well dressed. She is shocked at the poor appearance of the house and asks the Negro woman and Eunice if this is the home of Stella Dubois now known as Mrs. Stanley Kowalski. Eunice tells her that Stella is at the bowling alley with her husband. Eunice makes small talk with Blanche who informs her that she is an English teacher from Mississippi. Blanche walks inside, exhausted, and kindly tries to get rid of Eunice. Eunice leaves to go to the Bowling alley to bring Stella home.
Blanche looks around at the home in disgust. She finds some whiskey and begins drinking until Stella comes home. They embrace joyfully as Blanche cries, "Stella, oh, Stella, Stella! Stella for Star!" Scene 1, pg. 152. Blanche begins to chatter consistently about her appearance, how she needs low light, how she feels terrible that Stella is living in such a horrible place, and continuously makes excuses about herself. She finally asks Stella how she is doing and why she hasn't said a word. Stella replies, "You haven't given me a chance to, honey!" Scene 1, pg. 153. Stella tries to get a few words in the conversation, but Blanche dominates it and asks discreetly for some liquor. She justifies her actions by reminding her sister that she is not a drunk, but that her nerves are shot tonight. She repeatedly asks Stella why she lives in a place that is like something out of an Edgar Allen Poe poem.
The two sisters continue their conversation about why Stella lives in this broken-down old place, how Blanche looks, and why she has arrived in New Orleans. Stella is not intrusive and assumes that Blanche will explain in due time why she left school early and why she came to New Orleans for an indefinite time. Stella tells Blanche that there are only two rooms and she will be sleeping on a small pullout bed separated only by a curtain. Blanche is worried about privacy with Stanley in the next room.
Stella hasn't told Stanley that Blanche is coming to New Orleans to visit. Blanche is worried that she will be seen as the visiting in-law and hopes to get along with their friends. Stella says, "I'm afraid you won't think they are lovely...They're a mixed lot...." Scene 1, pg. 155. Blanche is also worried about getting put up at a hotel. She tells Stella, "I want to be near you, got to be with somebody, I can't be alone!" Scene 1, pg. 156. Stella is worried about Blanche because of her nerves, her fear of being alone and of being around light, and her obsession with her looks. She always is kind to Blanche, despite Blanche's harsh words.
Stella shows Blanche a picture of Stanley, telling him that he was a Master Sergeant in the Engineer's Corps and that he is from Poland. She voices her sexual desire for Stanley, which shocks Blanche.
Blanche tells Stella that she lost Belle Reve, their childhood home. She is very defensive and loses control as she tries to explain what happened. She is unsure of the exact reason and cause of the loss. She turns on Stella for leaving Mississippi while she stayed behind to help. "But you are the one that abandoned Belle Reve, not I! I stayed and fought for it, bled for it, almost died for it!" Scene 1, pg. 157.
Those words make Stella cry and she runs into the bathroom to fix herself. While she is gone, Stanley comes home, recognizing Blanche. The two are from obviously different social levels. They introduce one another and chat for a few minutes as Stanley looks for Stella. He asks Blanche about her past relationships and marriage. Blanche responds that she was married once, but her young husband died.