Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

A Streetcar Named Desire 

Stella and Stanley highlight this American classic

Comments
Tennessee Williams' script is just as heartwrenching and provocative, sexy and sweaty in 2007 as it was for its debut in 1947. The character-driven drama is about a faded Southern belle, Blanche DuBois, who goes to live with her baby sister, Stella, and Stella's "brute" husband, Stanley Kowalski. To this day, the 60-year-old play remains a scene-work staple at most Stanislavsky Method acting programs. Being cast in A Streetcar Named Desire should be an American stage actor's wet dream. Kamran Alexander shows real acting chops in this production; his Stanley is boorish and vulnerable, hot and frightening. Tara Donoghue (Stella) takes a character that could be a throwaway with the wrong actress, and gives her strength. She and Kamran steal the show with their electric chemistry. Barbara Michelson-Harder's Blanche, by comparison, just doesn't get there. It could have been a directing choice, but her character seems fake — indicating rather than allowing herself to become the vulnerable, trampled, and delicate woman that is Blanche DuBois. The director of Streetcar must play the role of teacher to coax and inspire the cast to fully commit to playing parts originated by the likes of Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy, and in this production Richard Harder succeeds on most counts. Unfortunately, Harder diverges from Williams' script at the pinnacle moment of the play, when Blanche smashes a bottle and goes for Stanley's face. The sound of that bottle cracking is Blanche cracking, and this version didn't break it at all. Yet overall, this production is a worthy tribute to an American masterpiece. —Nara Dahlbacka

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"