Blanche DuBois arrives to visit her sister, Mrs. Stella Kowalski, who lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She is shocked by the disreputable looks of the place. While a neighbor goes to find Stella, Blanche looks around the apartment for a drink. When her sister comes, Blanche quite frankly criticizes the place. She explains that she has come for a visit because her nerves are shattered from teaching. Noticing that the apartment has only two rooms, she has qualms about staying but she tells Stella that she can't stand being alone. She explains to Stella that their old ancestral home, Belle Reve, has been lost. While Stella goes to the bathroom, Stanley, her husband, enters and meets Blanche
BLANCHE [drawing involuntarily back from his stare]: You must be Stanley. I'm Blanche.
STANLEY: Stella's sister?
STANLEY: H'lo. Where's the little woman?
BLANCHE: In the bathroom.
STANLEY: Oh. Didn't know you were coming in town.
BLANCHE: I - uh -
STANLEY: Where you from, Blanche?
BLANCHE: Why, I- live in Laurel.
[He has crossed to the closet and removed the whiskey bottle.]
STANLEY: In Laurel, huh? Oh, yeah. Yeah, in Laurel, that's right. Not in my territory. Liquor goes fast in hot weather. [He holds the bottle to the light to observe its depletion.] Have a shot?
BLANCHE: No, I - rarely touch it.
STANLEY: Some people rarely touch it, but it touches them often.
BLANCHE [faintly]: Ha-ha.
STANLEY: My clothes 're stickin' to me. Do you mind if I make myself comfortable? [He starts to remove his shirt.]
BLANCHE: Please, please do.
STANLEY: Be comfortable is my motto.
BLANCHE: It's mine, too. It's hard to stay looking fresh. I haven't washed or even powdered my face and - here you are!
STANLEY: You know you can catch cold sitting around in damp things, especially when you been exercising hard like bowling is. You're a teacher, arent you?
STANLEY: What do you teach, Blanche?
STANLEY: I never was a very good English student. How long you here for, Blanche?
BLANCHE: I - don't know yet.
STANLEY: You going to shack up here?
BLANCHE: I thought I would if it's not inconvenient for you all.
BLANCHE: Traveling wears me out.
STANLEY: Well, take it easy.
[A cat screeches near the window. Blanche springs up.]
BLANCHE: What's that?
STANLEY: Cats.... Hey, Stella!
STELLA [faintly, from the bathroom]: Yes, Stanley.
STANLEY: Haven't fallen in, have you? [He grins at Blanche. She tries unsuccessfully to smile back. There is a silence] I'm afraid I'll strike you as being the unrefined type. Stella's spoke of you a good deal. You were married once, weren't you?
[The music of the polka rises up, faint in the distance.]
BLANCHE: Yes. When I was quite young.
STANLEY: What happened?
BLANCHE: The boy - the boy died. [She sinks back down] I'm afraid I'm-going to be sick!