The Writing Process
The concept of BLANCHE formed in July of 2020. Kayne West, funnily enough, was kind of the spark for this idea. His very public manic episodes and psychotic break echoed the calls from help from those who are not in the public eye, but are also dealing with similar mental anguish. In reflecting about his public display of mental illness, I began to reflect on how 2020 has affected us all - especially those more easily triggered and those who already might feel alone. Those who are close to me, who suffer with anxiety or substance abuse or bipolar disorder, shaped what kind of story I wanted to tell. I want to give light to how impossible the world feels currently, with or without experiencing issues with mental health. With this piece, I wanted to explore the mind of someone who really feels alone in the world, as many of us do given the current political climate in this country, but imagining it in an extreme sense.
Blanche is my favorite role ever written by a playwright. Her tragic story in A Streetcar Named Desire is amplified by her surroundings, similar to what we are seeing now with the mental health crisis in 2020. I started from that place of exploration of how Blanche would react, if isolated, and how her vision of the world would change.
After many re-writes, I had a beautiful and enlightening conversation with someone with a first-hand experience of how 2020 can affect those with mental illnesses. As soon as we hung up, I spent countless hours attempting to re-write and re-focus the story to tell an honest and loving portrayal of this pained character. A book that was recommended that really helped shape my concept of Blanche's mindset is Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind. I am really interested in creating a story that is truthful and poignant, but not at all exploitative.
With less than a month until our shoot date, today I (finally) finalized the script. I am really proud of the story and the character work and I am so excited to bring it onto screen with the help of a fully female cast & crew.