Archive

‘Streetcar Named Desire’ returns to Pittsburgh for North Side show | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

‘Streetcar Named Desire’ returns to Pittsburgh for North Side show

ptrtkStreetcar112014
Barebones Productions
Promotional image for Barebones Productions 'A Streetcar Named Desire'

Since founding Barebones Productions in 2003, Patrick Jordan has created a niche by staging edgy, new plays that would otherwise not be done here.

But he likes to insert the occasional curve ball in his seasonal planning.

So, Jordan chose Tennessee Williams’ classic 1947 drama “A Streetcar Named Desire” to follow the Pittsburgh premiere of the very contemporary “A Steady Rain.”

“It’s only the second time in 11 years that we have done something that was performed here before,” says Jordan, who also serves as Barebones’ artistic director.

Jordan will play Stanley Kowalski in the production that runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 6 at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side.

“A Steady Rain” had a minimal set — two chairs and a desk — and two actors. “Streetcar” has a cast of 11, multiple realistic settings, a multitude of props and period costumes. It also has music created by Joe Grushecky and John Gresh that will be performed live for select performances.

Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the years just after World War II, it’s a story of passion, identity and family.

“It catches that time in America that’s just post-war and the country is about to boom but hasn’t,” Jordan says.

Stella and Stanley come from different economic backgrounds: Stella grew up on an upper-class estate, while Stanley is working-class. When Stella’s mentally fragile sister, Blanche, unexpectedly arrives at their door, hoping for a new start in a new town, she upsets the Kowalskis’ already-uneasy relationship.

Since its 1947 opening on Broadway, “A Streetcar Named Desire” has been revived in New York eight times — most recently in 2012 — and been performed numerous times by regional theater companies.

Many more have seen the 1951 black-and-white film with Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Vivien Leigh.

Others know it only from the much-repeated film clip of Brando’s Stanley howling his wife’s name, or use quotes from the show, such as “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers,” without knowing where the lines originated, Jordan says.

“Everybody thinks they know it,” he says. “It hasn’t been done here since 1997 when Starlight Productions did it.”

The Barebones production will give audiences and actors a chance to discover the show they think they know.

At the first rehearsal, director Melissa Martin told the cast to erase everything they knew or thought about the drama, Jordan says. “She told us to go back to the words on the page,” he says.

“It’s dense. Every line has something to it,” he says. “When it was first done, it was shocking. It still is if we do it correctly. The stuff that happens is so real and it’s still happening. It’s like an Everest of a play. But if done right, it’s so good.”

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808, [email protected] or via Twitter @ATCarter_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.