Streetcar Named Desire

The importance of set design and sound effects in adding to the main ideas of the play.

Set design and sound effects are important in adding to the main ideas of the play; especially representing Blanche’s decent into madness. These main ideas include sex and desire, control, power and the American dream or illusion versus reality. The dramatic polka music and cat screeches that can be heard help to show the audience the world as Blanche sees it.

The play is set in one small apartment in New Orleans, which looks on to the streets where other ‘Stanley like’ characters can be seen. The design of the small apartment shows the lack of privacy, especially the flimsy curtain separating the bedroom from the living room. This emphasizes the sexuality, which is shown throughout the play. The small apartment also causes the conflicting realities of Stanley, who represents the new industrial man, Blanche, represents the old world and is refined and elegant, and Stella who has the ability to adapt and enjoy her life with Stanley. The small confined space also reveals, especially when Stanley and Blanche are arguing, the power reality has over fantasy.

Light plays an important role in portraying the mood and the motive of the characters, adding to the idea of illusion versus reality. For example, Blanche always see Mitch in dim lighting, as she has lied about her age and so that she can hide her true personality from him. Blanche gets very anxious when her and Mitch get back to the apartment, so she puts a paper lantern over it, saying ‘I can’t stand naked light’. Therefore in the play light represents reality and shadow, the illusion that characters create to hide from the truth. Blanche is ashamed of her past, so is always shying from the light around Mitch.

Light also plays another major role in Blanche’s life in reference to her dead husband, Allan Grey. There is irony when she describes that her love for Allan brought light to her life, in spite of his last...