What do the opening stage directions indicate about the playwright's style and dramatic technique?
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The opening stage directions of Streetcar Named Desire tell us that the playwright intends his play to be read as well as acted. It begins with a poetic epigraph from Hart Crane, which would be a challenge for any director to include on the stage; rather, Williams wants the director to incorporate the ideas of that poem into his play—he want to give the director meaning for and a sense of the play as well as frame the play for those who read it. The description of the scene is lyrical as well as specific, including details that invoke the senses: we see the streets, feel the warmth, smell the bananas and coffee, hear the music. The use of “you” speaks to the audience directly, addresses the audience, who is at this moment a reader rather than a viewer of the play. We learn from these details that the writer's style is relaxed and intimate rather than formal and didactic, and that his technique understands drama as something to be read as well as viewed. He wants it experienced sensually as well as intellectually--he paints it colorfully and in detail.
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