“How strange that I should be called a destitute women! When I have all these treasures locked in my heart,” says Blanche DuBois. To me this is the most powerful line in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire. I think many people believe that Blanche is delusional. But she isn’t. Blanche knows that she’s grasping at straws. “A woman’s charm is fifty per cent illusion,” she say to her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski. Blanche’s fanciness is her coping mechanism, but it isn’t working. The fact that she can’t delude herself is what causes Blanche to lose her mind in the end. But how much of Blanche DuBois is in all of us? Buy into the delusion of hope, or surrender to nihilism.
“There are people who can never go back, who must finish what they start. I am one of those people.” says Regina Giddens, set on her path of family destruction, careless of the consequences. To me this is the most powerful line of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. Last week a lot of my colleagues were talking about “not burning your bridges.” Maintaining good relationship with everyone, if you can. And I wonder, is “not burning your bridges” really that important? Bridges are only important if you are worried about going back. If you are hellbent on only moving forward, what difference does it make? Either way Regina’s character is my favorite type of character. Like Captain Ahab, the hellbent ones are for me.
“What the hell was it I wanted to buy, I wonder, that was worth – “ James Tyrone says bitterly to his son, regretful that he played it safe and took the easy well paying jobs instead of challenging himself artistically. To me this is the most powerful line of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. Last week I was preparing my tax return and reviewing how I spent my money last year. That line of Tyrone’s made me question myself. Have I spent my money well? Were the Trunk Club shirts and ties worth it? Have I surrendered any of my artistic ambitions? I’m certainly not going to answer those questions here. But the question struck me to my core and I think that is the mark of a good piece of art.