With the over-the-top rave review by New York Times reviewer Ben Brantley of the new Broadway production of "A Streetcar Named Desire," you might want to revisit the Rev. Robert Lauder's fascinating interview with the director of the play, Liv Ullmann, from a few months back in our Culture section. In it, Ms. Ullmann speaks not only of her work as a director, but how her faith has influenced her art.
Q. My favorite moment in the play you are directing, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” is when Mitch and Blanche see they need each other and she says, “Sometimes—there’s God—so quickly!”
A. Oh, that is rather important. She hears him and she sees him; he hears her and he sees her. He takes the candlelight and puts it in front of her and even holds an arm around her and says he will take care of her. That is when she says, “Sometimes—there’s God—so quickly!”
If it hadn’t been for other people, I think that maybe the two of them would have had a wonderful life together. That, of course, is the opposite of what happens in the end, when she feels that everyone turns against her and that they don’t want her anymore.
When she goes with the doctor, she looks at the people who should have been close to her—who should have seen her—and she says to the doctor, “Whoever you are I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” She is right: she couldn’t depend on the kindness of the people around her. And perhaps if God is not part of your experience, then God is a stranger. Perhaps if you turn to God and discover he is not a stranger, you can say, “I have always depended on the kindness of God and God seeing us.” It is something that I want to make clear; but it all depends on which way the actors choose to go, too.