Here’s the thing, anon. Here’s the seriously amazing, beautiful thing. I didn’t love it because I love Gillian and the reason for that is because you forget it’s Gillian in the first place.
In my rambly mess of a somewhat coherent review type thing that I posted earlier this morning, I mention that she loses herself in this role and it’s absolutely true. I don’t see the actress I spend far too much time reblogging and talking about, and I don’t see the characters of hers that I’ve fallen in love with in the past.
I simply see Blanche and it’s Blanche who makes you fall in love with the whole thing. She’s an entirely new person, a stranger to the audience, and she captivates immediately and really never lets you go. Even when you don’t want to watch what’s happening to her, even when she’s screaming and crying and oblivious to her own madness, even when she’s staring at you and being taken off… you watch because you can’t look away. She doesn’t let you.
Would I have seen any of this if it hadn’t been for Gillian? Unlikely. Probably never would have even heard about it.
But is it good simply because Gillian’s in it and I love her? Absolutely not.
This is exactly what Streetcar is meant to be. It’s not pleasant, it’s not an uplifting story by any means, and you’re not supposed to walk away from it unscathed. It’s not “Gillian being Gillian” that makes this whole thing work - it’s Gillian’s ability to become someone else so convincingly that you forget who it is you’re watching. From what I saw, she does not break character for a second. Even when not speaking, she is Blanche. She’s Blanche in the way she moves, in the way she touches things, in the way she looks at things. She literally becomes her and it’s insanely impressive.
I do not know how this woman has managed to do this eight times a week for the last couple of months. I can’t fathom it. But we’re all very lucky that she did and honestly, I mean it when I say EVERYONE needs to see this. It’s unlikely you’ll ever see anything like it again.
this is the worst ive felt in my entire life
I didn’t see the entire thing last night, but I did see a lot of the major Blanche scenes and I’ll say this … I expected it to be good, after reading all of the reviews, but I don’t think anything ever really blows me away. I can’t remember any performances that had a physical impact on me until I saw this. I was TREMBLING watching her answer the door to the people who will take her away. Hiding in the bathroom and saying “please, I don’t know you, get away from me…”
I said this before and other people have said the same thing, but there isn’t a hint of anyone recognizable in Gillian’s portrayal of Blanche. This actress, who a lot of us have seen over many years do many different things, is pretty easily recognizable to most of us. We know her face, her voice, her mannerisms. But then she gets on stage and gives a performance like this and it’s suddenly Gillian who? Scully who? Stella who? Bedelia who? There isn’t a GLIMPSE of any of them in this.
When I first heard Gillian really start to talk about this role, she said something along the lines of “Blanche is in my bones” and I distinctly remember reading that and rolling my eyes a bit at her because it sounded a little dramatic and it’s something that so many actors always say - that there is a role they were born to play - and it’s very rarely true. It feels true to them, but it doesn’t come through in their performances. But Gillian was spot on, this is something she was always meant to do, and it’s almost as if Blanche is written for her. She was made for this. You don’t even feel like you’re watching a production when you watch her.
I’m rambling, but I’m still reeling from the parts that I saw. Gillian’s comedic timing and delivery is ON POINT but the really magical thing about that is that once you find yourself laughing at Blanche, there’s a look on her face or a tremble in her voice and suddenly you feel bad for laughing because you’re reminded that she’s not intentionally funny. She’s a deluded mess and she’s falling apart and you shouldn’t be laughing at her even though the words and delivery are funny. It makes you feel like a voyeur, like you’re watching and hearing things you aren’t meant to see or hear and you want to get out of this apartment because it’s suffocating and you’re laughing and you shouldn’t be but what else is there to do? It’s uncomfortable and painful.
Gillian somehow makes it so that you realize that Blanche is fucking exhausting - a lying fantasist who is teetering on the edge of madness - and you feel sorry for everyone who has to deal with her bullshit BUT THEN … you also feel sorry for Blanche, you want to take her and protect her from herself and save her from the inevitability of her destruction but you can’t. She can’t be saved, can’t be helped, and there’s nothing you can do but watch her be carted away. She makes you feel so conflicted, so SAD for her, and she does it in a way that’s not even the least bit melodramatic. It’s hard to play genuinely insane because it’s so easy to be over the top about it. But Gillian’s portrayal of a slow descent into darkness is so subtle. She’s fidgety, she struggles to walk or stand properly sometimes, her eyes don’t focus, her nervous laughter makes you realize she’s so far gone.
Whoever called this performance a masterclass in acting is spot on. It’s exactly what it is. Performance of her career. There’s no topping this.
Okay, I’m sorry I just started ranting at you, but I think I’m going to talk about Streetcar until the day I die.