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Monday, July 14, 2008

A Streetcar Named Eh

posted by on July 14 at 16:02 PM

Christopher Frizzelle calls Intiman Theatre’s current production of A Streetcar Named Desire “really something.” I can agree insofar as everything, even that which is not much, is something.

For me, this Streetcar was flat. It had a sort of acceptable forgettableness. This play is supposed to be a curvaceous beast!

And that was in the sections that went smoothly.

This production is also endowed with extraordinarily embarrassing moments—moments typically reserved for community theater, moments that are the result of fatal, big-picture design decisions—largely revolving around the sound design.

The interpretations of the three main characters struck me this way: bad (Blanche), not quite good (Stanley), better than she had any right to be (Stella).

When the main attraction is Stella, your Streetcar’s off the rails.

(Brendan’s real review is coming in this week’s paper; I just had to offer the counterpoint to Frizzelle today.)

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It's an enormous whozeewhatsit thing, Jen. You wouldn't understand.

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Whozeewhatsit | July 14, 2008 4:22 PM

It is a dated turd of a play.

Don't be so provincial Seattle.

And Jen, why do you see such tripe?

Posted by Scott Dow | July 15, 2008 12:49 AM

No, it's a brilliant play that's difficult to produce since it's overshadowed by the legend of the original performers and film.

It's not anymore "dated" than Hamlet or The Imaginary Invalid or A Doll's House or Angels in America.

Quit being hipper than thou.

And, while you're at it, please name three important, contemporary American playwrights and their recently produced plays, that have the power and beauty of "A Streetcar Named Desire".

Posted by michael strangeways | July 15, 2008 9:49 AM

And I've already listed Kushner's Angels in America so you can't use him.

Posted by michael strangeways | July 15, 2008 9:50 AM

I have to second "Eh". Nobody onstage was listening to anyone else, nothing organic created, everyone in a rush to hit their marks. All the sensual quality of the play is missing- so it's baffling how Blanche keeps Mitch enthralled, no attraction between Stanley and Blanche so "We had this date from the start" doesn't work. Not much going on between Stella and Stanley either (we don't see Stella torn on whether to return to Stanley as he bellows her name- she just takes off like a shot. And she is supposed to doubt him at the end, not collapse into him again). SD said she searched high and low for Stanley and she found her man- this guy? Really? He may exude sexual charisma on a small screen, but dwarfed by the double decker set, swimming in clothes too big for him and wearing big heels circa 1955 (so he can be taller than Stella?), it's hard to see this Stanley as anything more than a guy with a Napolean complex. SD said Brando missed Stan's humor- so we get yuks interjected while Stanley is supposed to be tearing thru Blanche's suitcase, which ham-fistedly returns to anger. Blanche plays the tragedy from the git go- it would be nice to see her NOT know she's the tragic character named Blanche Dubois. The nearly non-stop music is the chiche of happy New Orleans with a juke joint on every corner- the cascades are like from a 40s radio show (dun-dun-DUNNNN!!!) The 'boy' collecting for the Evening Star looks like he's in his early 20s- not 17 (or younger) like he should, Mitch's poker clothes are too 80s (boat shoes?) and- just in case you don't get that the ending is sad- let's juice it up by putting a 1000 watt white light on Blanche ("It's like she's going to the gallows, people!" Uh- yeah- message received).

Often I excuse plays because a lot of scripts aren't that great. That isn't the problem here.

Posted by brueso | July 16, 2008 10:02 AM

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