If Blanche Dubois, the protagonist in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, would have had social media, she could have easily done what plenty of people do today – make her life and circumstances seem better than they really were. But there was no Instagram back in 1947 when this Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece first opened on Broadway, so the playwright had his character make up, and lie to herself and others, about a world that she dreamed of, but had not. STREETCAR is the play that put Williams in the spotlight, and there is a production of it currently performing at the Odyssey Theatre in West LA, directed by Jack Heller.
At the Odyssey, Susan Priver delivers a moving Blanche Dubois, a faded woman, a bit odd from the start, whose psyche, under the pressures of poverty and the criticism of others, deteriorates right before your eyes. One of her critics is Stanley Kowalski, played by Max E. Williams (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), who, unlike Blanche, is a realist and wastes no time dreaming. Williams does an excellent job at portraying this man who is uncouth and violent, who has his feet firmly set on the ground and yet, is as imperfect as the sister in law that he undermines.
At its most obvious, the play is about the decline of a woman’s mental state, but critics have said that it also represents the death of the aristocratic old South of the United States and the ascent of the working class. This means that you will go home with lots to think about. Look forward to an intense show; one that will hold your interest throughout.
Often regarded as one of the finest plays of the 20th century, STREETCAR is often considered to be Williams’ greatest work. Having won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the play also launched the careers of Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden.
At the Odyssey, the rest of the cast includes Melissa Sullivan as Stella; Christopher Parker as Mitch; Caroline Simone O’Brien and Alejandro Bravo as upstairs neighbors Eunice and Steve; Juan Sucre as Stanley’s poker buddy, Pablo; Sean Rose as the teenager collecting for the newspaper; and Nadejda Klein and Kevin Ragsdale as the nurse and doctor.
Performances of STREETCAR take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., through July 7. All tickets are $40 (reserved seating). For reservations and information call (310) 477-2055 x 2 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.
The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025.