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A Streetcar Named Desire
Woodward Shakespeare Festival
Fresno, CA
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Thank you for your interest in the Woodward Shakespeare Festival's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. This production has ended but please come see us at 13 Acres Stage for our final 2012 Season production of Henry V, running August 16 - September 8.


A Streetcar Named Desire
A message from the director Maggie McLellan:

I recently retired from Southern Oregon University where I taught for the last 13 years.  There I directed The Medea,Cementville, Zastrozzi,Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, House of Blue Leaves, 'Night Mother(also acted in), Keely and Du, and improvised, wrote and produced a children's play called Fable Tales; An Assortment of Animated & Amusing Allegoriesinspired by Aesop. At other universities I directed my own translations of several Greek plays, most notably a musical adaptation of Lysistrata.

I am deeply steeped in this art, and in the belief that truly great theatre can only be generated by a mass collaboration between the actors and the designers and the technicians and the audience And this collaboration has to be infused with generosity and kindness and discipline and the dedication to creating a "sacred space" where everyone involved feels safe enough to let their hair down and go for it.

Theatre is the most visceral art form there is, more even more than dance or music. In theatre emotions are triggered by involvement and identification with the story and the people up there on the stage - the actors become the characters that tell the story. I want theatre to move me, to make me feel, to make me think, maybe shift a paradigm or two. The kind of theatre I enjoy watching is the kind of theatre I enjoy doing: it's an organic, communal experience in which every member in the darkened space is having an experience that is moving. Theatre is a kind of ritual celebration of our deeply DNA driven need for hearing the stories of our lives over and over and over again in order to make sense of our existence.

With A Streetcar Named DesireI want to show how the power of love can save or destroy a person. Blanche and Stella both come from the sheltered background of the old south, ill-equipped for the realities of a world that is shifting from WWII to post WWII, as the old South shifts to the new South. They were both raised to be taken care of - by men. The war changes that game around For Blanche - her tremendous love for - and guilt over - the young husband she drives to suicide propels her into desperate sexual actions; seducing any man, let alone a younger man, is anathema to her upbringing. She was raised under the strict Victorian code of "nice girls don't." Post WWII is still a man's world, and a woman who has slept with anyone not her husband is still a considered a slut and ostracized for that reason. That Blanche has descended into what amounts to nymphomania for the past number of years is an indication of her despair and the beginning of losing her hold on reality.   But in my analysis of the play she should be much farther along the path of complete mental breakdown when she first appears. She should barely be able to carry off any semblance of normality and should slip into paranoia and psychotic behavior much earlier than is generally portrayed. When she steps off the streetcar she has already broken down and become utterly unable to function, and is teetering on the verge of insanity when she arrives at Elysian Fields, a deliberate reference to the Greek underworld by Williams. Stanley becomes her Charon, the boat-man who ferries the souls of the dead across the river Styx by raping her. His brutality loosens her fragile grip on reality entirely and she - in effect - "dies" at his hands.



Woodward Shakespeare Festival (View)
Corner of Friant/Fort Washington
Fresno, CA 93620
United States

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Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: Woodward Shakespeare Festival
On BPT Since: Jun 04, 2007
Greg Taber
(559) 927-3485

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