I had recently finished reading Alec Baldwin's Nevertheless and genuinely enjoyed it. I was surprised at how funny, generous and humble he was, and strongly suspected a ghost writer. However after watching several interviews where he promoted his book, it was obvious that the narrative voice was his own, that in fact, the book did not do justice as to how intelligent, humorous and articulate Baldwin is in person. Chapter 9 specifically dealt with how Baldwin was mentally and physically challenged by the role of Stanley Kowalski, how he felt the spectre of Marlon Brandon looming over him. Streetcar aside, it was a low point for the actor, both professionally in movies, and personally, with his first marriage falling apart and leaving his long time manager and friend. For Baldwin, Streetcar was his Mount Everest to conquer, his challenge that could redeem him professionally and personally if he could rise above the spectre of Brando's Stanley.
I knew the Y12s were studying Streetcar as they had borrowed it as a class only weeks before so mentioned how much I enjoyed Nevertheless. I mentioned theTheatre teacher how Chapter 9 might be relevant for their study of Streetcar. After she gave me the task sheet, I could see it as an example of a primary source for their task. For their summative task for this course, the Y12 had to research and integrate primary and secondary sources into their work. Specifically they were required to research and explain the theoretical and/or cultural context(s) from which the play originates. Students had to explain the ideas addressed by the play text and explain how these are presented by the playwright.
I had already borrowed the book from the library, but then I also downloaded the audiobook from the library via Overdrive. I made copies of selected texts from Nevertheless for the students to highlight, annotate and make notes as we listened to Baldwin read the the text. But before we read the text together (with Baldwin), I asked them to look for the following:
The student and the teacher expressed that this was a useful primary source and definitely would integrate into the task where possible.
Video by Elaine Fong