A Key Party

         Everyone seems to get bored with his or her other half at some point. Primitive passions can fade, and the thrill of money is sure to weaken in the long run. Waking up every morning to the same face is sure to become one of the dreaded chores of a married life. Couples in the 1970s solved this problem, however. They began to throw key parties. At a key party everyone throws his or her set of keys into a bowl. At the end of the night someone would pick up a set of keys at random and end up going home with the owner of whosever's set happened to be picked up. If all of the characters that have been discussed this semester were to attend a party of such a nature, Nora and Torvald from Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively, and Stella and Stanley from Elia Kazan's 1951 rendition of Tennessee Williams' 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, would definitely get a kick out of switching husbands for a night.

         Stella (Kim Hunter) is used to living in a slummy apartment with an uncouth, yet very sexy husband Stanley, played by Marlon Brando, who comes home with sweat all over his body every day after work. Nora is married to a boring, yet clean and wholesome man who works at a bank. Torvald does not seem to be much in the bedroom, but he makes up for it by throwing out spending money and cute talk to Nora. One night with the other's husband is just what these two girls need to get a little taste of what life is really like on the other side of town.

         Stella is consumed by her sexual fascination towards her muscular man. He may not be able to pass out very much money, but what he lacks in his pocket he obviously makes up for in the bedroom. Day in and day out she stays inside her pitiable apartment and waits for her sex-pot Stanley to come home. Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom), on the other hand, seems hesitant to partake of any sexual activity with her drunk and horny husband, Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins), after a party, which leads one to think he is somewhat lacking in that department.

         If Nora were to ever spend a night with Stanley, her eyes would probably be open to that whole new world she had never even known she was searching for. If she was tired of being treated like a precious little doll, Stanley is just the man to break her of that tender treatment. Nora needs some type of adventure after a life of raising kids and being waited on hands and foot by the hired help. Stanley was able to break Stella away from that comfortable lifestyle, and she always seemed to be pretty content with her new life. Maybe he is the kind of man that needs to shake the refined Nora up a little bit.

         Stella always seemed a little distant. Was she daydreaming about her night life with Stanley, or was she reminiscing about the life that once was back at Belle Reeve, where she was able to have the finer things? The simple life with Stanley was far from what she had been accustomed to. It could be that sort of life was her every hope and dream, or it could be that it was just a rebellious phase she needed to go through in order to figure out what she really wanted in life. A night with Torvald could be all she needs to figure it out.

         We all go through phases and wild experiences. These experiences can teach us what is wrong and also what we really like. The possible experience that these two baffled wives may need in order to find out what they really want could possibly be the appearance at a 1970s Key Party.

Janna Tanner

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