note: entire contents copyright 2014 by Cindy Sue
A Streetcar Named Desire
By Tennessee Williams
At Courthouse Center for the Arts
3481 Kingstown Rd. West Kingston, RI
Presented by The Psych Drama Company and
Rhode Island Shakespeare Company
FINAL WEEKEND February 21-23
The play premiered on Broadway in 1947 and tells the story of what happens when faded Southern Belle Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister Stella and husband Stanley Kowalski. Blanche tells Stella of the ?loss? of their ancestral home Belle Reve in Laurel, Mississippi, how it upset her so much that she took a leave of absence from her job teaching High School English and now needs to recover. Blanche blames Stella, who she claims deserted her to marry Stanley and left her alone to deal with the illness and death of their father and the debts that led to this ?loss.? Stanley is suspect of her stories from the beginning and eventually ?finds her out? with disastrous results. The play deals with alcoholism, abuse, and mental illness. It is filled with passion and poignancy.
Wendy Lippe, founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Psych Drama Company, takes on the challenging role of Blanche with great success. She shines in all facets of this complex character. Margaret Howe as Stella shows us the iron glove in the velvet hand. She is by turns meek, determined and passionate. Stephen Sacchetti portrays Stanley, capturing the fire and ardor of the role perfectly. Jon Brandl is Mitch, the dutiful son who is entranced with Blanche until her true past is revealed to him by Stanley. His portrayal is perfect. Greata DiGiorgio as Eunice, the upstairs neighbor and ?Mexican Woman,? is wonderful. Frank Brennan is Steve, Eunice?s husband, and he does a great job. Derek Bousquet is Pablo one of the card-playing friends of Stanley and the ?Collector,? the paperboy who is almost seduced by Blanche. He is terrific and I honestly didn?t think it was the same actor who played both parts.
Director Nicholas Meunier has done a great job with this talented cast. Larry Siegel is Stage Manager and also plays the Doctor who appears at the end of the play. He handles both parts capably, keeping the performance running smoothly.
The set designed by JC Wallace is a suitably shabby representation of a dilapidated apartment in a run-down section of New Orleans. The jazzy pre-show music draws the audience in and takes us back to post-war Louisiana. The lighting by Anthony D?Uantano continues the mood.
This production also has Ted Eaton working with the cast as Fight Consultant and Dr. Phillip Freeman as Character Consultant. Those attending the final performance on Sunday will have an opportunity to hear Dr. Freeman discuss the character complexities after the show.
The Courthouse is handicap accessible and there is free parking.