‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ a strong beginning to Stagehouse Theatre’s new season

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Taking on Tennessee Williams is a bold move for even the seasoned actor, with its complex characters in a play where dialogue is the driving force of the story. In Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department’s first play of the 2015 – 16 season the Stagehouse Theatre troupe took “A Streetcar Named Desire” and transported a classic that never ages to a fresh young audience. And they held nothing back.

Taking on Tennessee Williams is a bold move for even the seasoned actor, with its complex characters in a play where dialogue is the driving force of the story. In Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department’s first play of the 2015 – 16 season the Stagehouse Theatre troupe took “A Streetcar Named Desire” and transported a classic that never ages to a fresh young audience. And they held nothing back.

Set in the late 1940’s in the heart New Orleans’ French Quarter, this play deals with realities of life—racism, abuse, rape and unbridled anger and passion took the stage with unprecedented acting with no moment of relapse. Actors fed off each other throughout the performance, engaging each other as they engaged the audience, so casting got it right.

Hannah Conway’s portrayal of Blanche DuBois, who lost everything from her southern plantation upbringing, delving her into a world of chaos, lies and promiscuity, gave a convincing exposé of the broken, aging schoolteacher on the edge of never. Her episodes of aloofness and defense became a catapult that launched life to her words and fed the story from first line to last. At times, you believed in her, and then the ugly truths of her life lay bare.

Stanley Kowalski (Patrick Barnsley) and Cambria Rose Ruth as his infamous wife “Stella! rounded the trio and took the story to another level. Stanley’s anger, rage and sense of protection were a love right or wrong. Ruth’s interpretation of Stella delivered all the complexity of a girl of high class, loving a boy with little to offer and a sister she loves unconditionally. Add in the cast, set, wardrobe, and lights, what was night of critic turned into a night of intrigue. They embraced Tennessee Williams “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and told his story.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” is now playing at the Stagehouse Theatre through Oct. 10. To get tickets go by the box office or call (619) 644-7234.

And, something to place on your calendar. On Oct. 16-17, Grossmont Theatre Arts faculty member Jerry Hager performs his one-man show inspired by one man’s journey into a homeless community.  This is a special fundraiser performance for the Theatre Arts Program.

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