A Figment In The Elsewhere #5: Mr. Blanche DuBois

blanchedubois_2612          [pic by gh0stdot]

-being the fifth in an ongoing series detailing stand-out acts that ‘appeared’ at The Double R Club (often more than once); acts that Rose Thorne and I loved, that seem to typify in some way, or stand as emblems for, just what it is The Double R have attempted to do, to be, displays that went some way to describing our own particular brand of ‘Lynchian’, over the last decade of shows…

This time: Mr. Blanche DuBois and their… well, their Blanche DuBois act; (to try and prevent this post becoming unduly confusing I shall henceforth refer to performer Blanche DuBois as PerformerBlanche or Mr. Blanche Dubois, the character as simply Blanche).

PerformerBlanche is an incredible and versitile artist that has appeared at the Double R countless times over the years, never illiciting anything other than a rapturous response, however, when we first clapped eyes on their Blanche DuBois act, it very soon became clear that we were witnessing an almost quintessentially Double R moment.

In Tennessee Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire, we learn that Blanche DuBois’ husband committed suicide after he was discovered having a homosexual affair. Wikipedia: “This reference was removed from the film; Blanche says instead that she showed scorn at her husband’s sensitive nature, driving him to suicide.”

blanchedubois_2587[pic by gh0stdot]

In PerformerBlanche’s act, the Blanche of the play appears locked in a kind of time-loop or bad dream, in which the terrible tragedy from her past seems to have fractured time itself and she is forced to re-live those terrible moments again and again.

Mournful strings are heard, as well as the sound of chalk writing on a blackboard, PerformerBlanche scribbles on the air, perhaps writing a diary, perhaps trying to re-write the tragedy that she knows she can never escape.

blanchedubois_2603 [pic by gh0stdot]

Blanche’s speech from the 1951 film version (by Vivien Leigh) is heard, though cut up, re-ordered, repeating itself, again and again, and PerformerBlanche lipsynchs the fractured story, growing more and more frantic and distraught as the events are regurgitated and relived, as the guilt destroys her before our very eyes.

She’s reminded, over and over, of the whole awful event, from their meeting:

“There was something about the boy… He was a boy,”

to the terrible night when, after she tells him that he disgusts her, he commits suicide:

“One night we drove out to a place called Moon lake… I didn’t know anything, except that I loved him, and I heard him crying… Suddenly in the middle of the dancefloor the boy I’d married broke away from me… He stuck a revolver into his mouth…”

And then of the discovery of her husband’s body: “The terrible thing at the edge of the lake.”

The act ends with Chet Baker’s heartbreaking rendition of Elvis Costello’s Almost Blue; during which PerformerBlanche removes their dress and corset, and then stands them up, as if the character of Blanche had simply vanished, or had been a ghost all along; perhaps in a suggestion that bystepping out of costume, Blanche’s tragedy has been left behind after all.

_SGDL_Double R Club 13[pic by Sébastien Gracco de Lay]

This is an act that sends shivers about the room like a Mexican wave and that has moved many a Double R audience to tears; and, with it’s themes of tragedy and loss, and it’s dream-like, hypnotic repetition, not to mention its harking back to a golden age of Hollywood, it remains one of the most purely Lynchian acts we’ve ever presented.

~ by benjaminlouche on March 25, 2020.

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