A Streetcar Named Desire
Scottish Ballet’s stylish production breathes new life into the classic tale, with graceful waltzes at the DuBois family home, electrifying lindy jives in a Louisiana nightclub, and intense duets in the caged heat of Stella and Stanley’s apartment.
This astonishing take on Tennessee Williams’ famous play is narrative ballet at its very best, with stunning dance, devastating drama, pitch-perfect period design and a sizzling score used to tell the iconic story.
In steamy 1940s New Orleans, fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois moves into her sister Stella’s apartment. Stella’s brutish husband Stanley sees that Blanche is not what she appears to be, and sets out to destroy her…
Last performed: A Streetcar Named Desire was last performed in spring 2023. For current productions, visit our What’s On page.
Scottish Ballet premiere: 2012 (World Premiere)
Direction: Nancy Meckler
Choreography: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Scenario: Nancy Meckler & Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Music: Peter Salem
Design: Niki Turner
Lighting: Tim Mitchell
‘does Williams’ masterpiece full justice, repeatedly tugging at the heart-strings even as it shreds the nerves’
‘A brilliant example of the contemporary narrative ballet’
‘A triumph… an electrifying, moving and deeply emotional ballet’
All Edinburgh Theatre
Blanche marries her sweetheart, Alan, at her family home. At the wedding, Alan meets a young man and finds he is attracted to him and begins a secret affair. Blanche unexpectedly comes upon the two men together and rejects Alan. In despair, Alan runs off and shoots himself, dying in Blanche’s arms.
Stella leaves home
Blanche’s sister Stella leaves home, leaving Blanche alone with her family and their financial problems. Meanwhile, in the jazz-filled streets of New Orleans, Stella meets and falls passionately in love with Stanley Kowalski, a factory worker.
Blanche, now living in a hotel, is haunted by the trauma of Alan’s death and seeks comfort in alcohol and the arms of strangers. Eventually, she is discovered seducing a teenager and is forced to leave town.
Now addicted to alcohol, Blanche travels to Stella in New Orleans, hoping to leave her past behind. Blanche senses that Stanley is fiercely territorial and resents her presence in his home; he feels that Blanche looks down on him and thinks him unworthy of Stella.
The Poker Game
Stanley’s friends arrive for a poker night and the sisters go to a nightclub together where Blanche drinks heavily. She feels lightheaded and is suddenly overwhelmed by her memories of Alan. Shaken, she leaves the club and meets a woman selling flowers for graves who chants “flores para los muertos”: flowers for the dead. Blanche buys a flower and imagines again that young Alan is haunting her.
Back at the apartment, Stanley’s poker game is in full swing. Blanche meets his friend Mitch, a shy man, unconfident with women and unmarried. When Blanche invites Mitch to dance, Stanley becomes enraged at the interruption to his game and throws the radio out of the window. Stella is attacked by Stanley, who is now drunk and feeling his territory has been invaded. His friends manage to calm him while the two women run out onto the street. Stanley is full of remorse and calls out to Stella for forgiveness.
The next morning
Blanche, who has spent the night with a neighbour, returns just as Stanley is leaving. She is desperate to get Stella away from Stanley before he returns, but Stanley comes back unexpectedly. Stella sees him in the doorway and leaps into his arms. Once again feeling hopeless, Blanche turns to alcohol and escapes into her imagination.
Blanche and Mitch
Mitch takes Blanche on several dates over the course of a long, hot summer. Over the course of their courtship, Blanche refuses Mitch any intimacy beyond a goodnight kiss.
Stanley arrives home with a letter from a friend telling him of Blanche’s promiscuous past. He shows the letter to Stella, vividly depicting Blanche’s past encounters when she was living at the hotel.
Mitch arrives after being shown the letter by Stanley, angry and feeling that he has been deceived. He tries to force himself on her before leaving in disgust.
Blanche retreats into fantasy
A delivery boy arrives. He reminds her of a young Alan, and Alan’s ghost appears again to haunt her. After Blanche’s unsuccessful attempt at seduction, the boy leaves and she is alone, haunted once more by Alan, his lover and her younger self.
Feeling that she has nowhere to turn, Blanche drinks heavily and is surrounded by characters from her past. She imagines she is the carefree star of her own life.
Stanley arrives suddenly, sharpening her wits. Blanche is terrified to be alone with him and defends herself with a bottle. She is overpowered, and Stanley rapes her.
Some days later we see Blanche, broken, being carefully dressed by Stella. Stanley has arranged for her to be committed to a psychiatric hospital. When the doctor arrives, Stella must choose whether to protect Blanche or be loyal to Stanley. Stella sides with Stanley and Blanche leaves with the doctor. Blanche retreats completely into fantasy.