Kaplan, Donald M. “Homosexuality and American Theatre: A Psychoanalytic Comment.” The Tulane Drama Review, 9.3 (Spring, 1965): 25-55. The MIT Press. University of Pennsylvania Library, Philadelphia. 7 April 2008. <http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/6965/2>.
In this article, Kaplan comments on the increased display of homosexuality in American theater, and tries to explain why this change had come about by 1965. It is important to note that, as taboo as homosexuality may be today, in the 1960’s dialogue regarding the subject was simply unmentionable. Not half as much research on the “true” factors for a homosexual being had been conducted, while the limitations on a homosexual’s “mentality and creative vision” were far more pervasive. Nevertheless, Kaplan opens his discussion with a quote straight from Elia Kazan (an artist who’s sexuality, he believes, is “questionable): “The whole concept is rather thrilling, the realization of a dream. In the few days that we have been working together I have had more fun than I have had in years.” This “realization,” Kaplan states, is the transformation of a homosexual’s dreams into reality—a reality that is becoming more and more popular in modern America, he believes. Unfortunately, Kaplan quickly seems to contradict this “modern” notion by defending homosexuals through the “verified” results of outdated ink-blot tests; nevertheless, he quickly goes on to discuss both scientific and social beliefs regarding the notion of sexuality.
Tennessee Williams was one of these homosexual artists whose dreams have been realized, and while the Streetcar film has toned down many of its intended homosexual undertones, the original version is almost blatant in its discussion of homosexuality. Kaplan criticizes the play for its “Me-Tarzan-You-Jane” sexuality when it comes to Stanley’s relationship with both Stella and Blanche, citing the unrefined terms “making out” and “getting those colored lights going on” as crude representations of heterosexual relationships. However, Blanche’s one true love happened to be gay. This “nervous, tender, uncertain boy” who wrote poetry is sympathetically portrayed, and is arguably a pivotal character in Streetcar’s synopsis. This fact proves Kaplan’s point that homosexual “rebellion against instinctual deprivation” is rapidly spreading in both American theater and cinema. It also sheds light on the changing face of what American authors were willing to write and what American audiences were willing to see.