For roles in Penny Dreadfuls, we strongly encourage comedic speeches not by Tennessee Williams.
For roles in A Streetcar Named Desire or Kingdom of Earth, these speeches are sufficient, but you are welcome to make your own selections, whether they are by Tennessee Williams or not.
We do not encourage the selection of classical texts for this audition.
Blanche: Well, Stella--you're going to reproach me, I know that you're bound to reproach me--but before you do--take into consideration--you left! I stayed and struggled! You came to New Orleans and looked out for yourself. I stayed at Belle Reve and tried to hold it together! I'm not meaning this in any reproachful way, but all the burden descended on my shoulders.
You are the one that abandoned Belle Reve, not I! I stayed and fought for it, bled for it, almost died for it! ….
I, I, I took the blows in my face and my body! All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard! Father, mother! Margaret, that dreadful way! So big with it, it couldn't be put in a coffin! But had to be burned like rubbish! You just came home in time for the funerals, Stella. And funerals are pretty compared to deaths. Funerals are quiet, but deaths--not always. Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, and sometimes it rattles, and sometimes they even cry out to you, "Don't let me go!" Even the old, sometimes, say, "Don't let me go." As if you were able to stop them! But funerals are quiet, with pretty flowers. And, oh, what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in! Unless you were there at the bed when they cried out, "Hold me!" you'd never suspect there was the struggle for breath and bleeding.
Blanche: I loved someone, too, and the person I loved I lost.
He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was sixteen, I made the discovery--love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow, that's how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded. There was something different about the boy, a nervousness, a softness and tenderness which wasn't like a man's, although he wasn't the least bit effeminate looking--still--that thing was there.... He came to me for help. I didn't know that. I didn't find out anything till after our marriage when we'd run away and come back and all I knew was I'd failed him in some mysterious way and wasn't able to give the help he needed but couldn't speak of! He was in the quicksands and clutching at me--but I wasn't holding him out, I was slipping in with him! I didn't know that. I didn't know anything except I loved him unendurably but without being able to help him or help myself.
Stanley: Lie Number One: All this squeamishness she puts on! You should just know the line she's been feeding to Mitch--He thought she had never been more than kissed by a fellow! But Sister Blanche is no lily! Our supply-man down at the plant has been going through Laurel for years and he knows all about her and everybody else in the town of Laurel knows all about her. She is as famous in Laurel as if she was the President of the United States, only she is not respected by any party! This supply-man stops at a hotel called the Flamingo. She’s stayed there too. This is after the home-place had slipped through her lily white fingers! She moved to the Flamingo! A second class hotel which has the advantage of not interfering in the private social life of the personalities there! The Flamingo is used to all kinds of goings-on. But even the management of the Flamingo was impressed by Dame Blanche! In fact they were so impressed by Dame Blanche that they requested her to turn in her room-key--for permanently! This happened a couple of weeks before she showed here. Sure, I can see how you would be upset by this. She pulled the wool over your eyes as much as Mitch's!
Stella: Oh, Stan! I'm taking Blanche to Galatoire's for supper and then to a show, because it's your pok'r night. I put you a cold plate on ice. I'm going to try to keep Blanche out till the party breaks up because I don't know how she would take it. So we'll go to one of the little places in the Quarter afterwards and you'd better give me some money. Blanche is soaking in a hot tub to quiet her nerves. She's terribly upset. She's been through such an ordeal. [hesitantly] Stan, we've--lost Belle Reve! Oh, it had to be--sacrificed or something. When she comes in be sure to say something nice about her appearance. And, oh! Don't mention the baby. I haven't said anything yet, I'm waiting until she gets in a quieter condition. And try to understand her and be nice to her, Stan. She wasn't expecting to find us in such a small place. You see I'd tried to gloss things over a little in my letters. And admire her dress and tell her she's looking wonderful. That's important with Blanche. Her little weakness!
Alma: Oh, I suppose I am sick, one of those weak and divided people who slip like shadows among you solid strong ones. But sometimes, out of necessity, we shadowy people take on a strength of our own. I have that now. You needn’t try to deceive me … You needn’t try to comfort me. I haven’t come here on any but equal terms. You said, let’s talk truthfully. Well, let’s do. Unsparingly, truthfully, even shamelessly, then! It’s no longer a secret that I love you. It never was. I loved you as long ago as the time I asked you to read the stone angel’s name with your fingers. Yes, I remember the long afternoons of our childhood, when I had to stay indoors to practice my music – and heard your playmates calling you, “Johnny! Johnny!” How it went through me, just to hear your name called! And how I – rushed to the window to watch you jump the porch railing! I stood at a distance, halfway down the block, only to keep in sight of your torn red sweater, racing about the vacant lot you played it. Yes, it had begun that early, this affliction of love, and has never let go of me since, but kept on growing. I’ve lived next door to you all the days of my life, a weak and divided person who stood in adoring awe of you singleness, of your strength. And that is my story! Now I wish you would tell me – why didn’t it happen between us? Why did I fail? Why did you come almost close enough – and no closer?
Amanda: This is the dress in which I led the cotillion, won the cakewalk twice at Sunset Hill, wore one spring to the Governor's ball in Jackson ! See how I sashayed around the ballroom, Laura?
I wore it on Sundays for my gentlemen callers ! I had it on the day I met your father. I had malaria fever all that spring. The change of climate from East Tennessee to the Delta - weakened resistance I had a little temperature all the time - not enough to be serious - just enough to make me restless and giddy. Invitations poured in - parties all over the Delta! - 'Stay in bed,' said mother, 'you have fever!' - but I just wouldn't. - I took quinine but kept on going, going ! Evenings, dances ! - Afternoons, long, long rides! Picnics. - lovely! - So lovely, that country in May. - All lacy with dogwood, literally flooded with jonquils! - That was the spring I had the craze for jonquils. Jonquils became an absolute obsession. Mother said, 'Honey, there's no more room for jonquils.' And still I kept on bringing in more jonquils. Whenever, wherever I saw them, I'd say, "Stop ! Stop! I see jonquils ! I made the young men help me gather the jonquils ! It was a joke, Amanda and her jonquils ! Finally there were no more vases to hold them, every available space was filled with jonquils. No vases to hold them? All right, I'll hold them myself - And then I - met your father ! Malaria fever and jonquils and then - this - boy.... I hope they get here before it starts to rain.
Jim: I think that I will indulge, with your permission, [Musingly unwraps it and holds it up.] Think of the fortune made by the guy that invented the first piece of chewing gum. Amazing, huh? The Wrigley Building is one of the sights of Chicago. - I saw it summer before last when I went up to the Century of Progress. Did you take in the Century of Progress?Well, it was quite a wonderful exposition. What impressed me most was the Hall of Science. Gives you an idea of what the future will be in America, even more wonderful than the present time is! [Pause. Smiling at her.] Your brother tells me you're shy. Is that right, Laura?I judge you to be an old-fashioned type of girl. Well, I think that's a pretty good type to be. Hope you don't think I'm being too personal - do you?You know I have an idea I've seen you before. I had that idea soon as you opened the door. It seemed almost like I was about to remember your name. But the name that I started to call you - wasn't a' name! And so I stopped myself before I said it.Blue Roses ! - My gosh, yes - Blue Roses! That's what I had on my tongue when you opened the door !
Isn't it funny what tricks your memory plays? I didn't connect you with high school somehow or other.
But that's where it was; it was high school. I didn't even know you were Shakespeare's sister !