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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 24, 2020

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On Board A Streetcar Named Desire

On Board A Streetcar Named Desire
Kerstin

Stanley & StellaNew Farm Nash Theatre’s latest production, A Streetcar Named Desire, has opened and it’s been embraced by reviewers and audiences alike.

The classic play by Tennessee Williams takes place in 1940s New Orleans and tells the story of dysfunctional family relationships and the tragedy they can create.

Pop culture has long been enamoured with the work. Stanley’s desperate cries of “Stella! STELLA!” will be recognised by most (though not always from the play). Now, it’s Brisbane’s turn to fall in love with Williams’ piece.

Brenda White is the show’s director. She says A Streetcar Named Desire is a play she has always hoped to stage.

“Streetcar is not produced very often, particularly in the community theatre world, and it has such interesting characters.”

She is clearly enthusiastic, but admits she was at first hesitant to take on the difficult work.

“I had been a bit wary of doing it, as I wasn’t sure that I would get the sort of cast that it needs… Fortunately, I did,” she explains.

“We’ve got a very good set and very good actors and everything has come together really well.”

Taking the lead role of Blanche is Melanie Myers, a graduate of QUT’s theatre Studies program and director of the Reality Bites Literary Festival. Playing opposite her is Lia Davies (Stella) and newcomer Tristan Ozinga (Stanley).

White acknowledges the play is a long one. The Broadway interpretation currently starring Blair Underwood is well over two hours in length.

“You always worry… that people might get a little bit restless, but everyone seems to have accepted the length of it and been quite enthralled with it,” she says.

No doubt that is due to the guidance of White and the strength of the material she has to work with. The director has Blanche & Stanleyremained faithful to Williams’ original material and his poetic use of language. Careful staging and sound effects are used to enhance the piece’s natural melodrama.

“The play build’s up to a tremendous climax and I think the first thing you do is look at the shape of the play and work towards that climax,” White explains of the approach she adopted.

“We have a small stage, so it can be quite claustrophobic… You can build up a lot of tension because these people are trapped in a very small space.”

Theatre-goers can enjoy for themselves the results of White’s efforts (and take comfort that their lives are likely to be far less complicated than those seen on stage) at Nash Theatre’s home at the Merthyr Road Uniting Church in New Farm. A Streetcar Named Desire runs until the first of June.

DETAILS

What? New Farm Nash Theatre’s A Streetcar Named Desire

When? May 23 – 25 & 30@ 7.30pm; May 19 @ 2pm and 26th @ 6pm; June 1 @ 7.30pm

Where? Merthyr Road Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Road, New Farm

How much? Adults $20, Concession $15, Members $12

Bookings? Call 3370 4774 or email nashtheatre4@bigpond.com