Liv Ullmann on "Streetcar"

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!”

Advertisement

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.

Read the whole interview here.

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018
Kevin Clarke tells us about his reporting from Iraq.
Olga SeguraOctober 19, 2018