A Streetcar Named Desire

White Ribbon is proud to be collaborating with Khandallah Arts Theatre on their upcoming production of Tennessee Williams’ classic, A Streetcar Named Desire. Written in 1949 and made into a famous Hollywood movie starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, it’s a well-known tragedy of delusion, culture clash, mental fragility – and domestic abuse.

No stranger to directing ‘difficult’ plays, Tanya Piejus has taken on The Diary of Anne Frank; Rabbit Hole, a story of parents dealing with the loss of their 4-year-old child; Proof, which explores the thin line between genius and insanity; and Stones in His Pockets, a dark Irish comedy centring on a young man’s suicide that has just two actors playing 23 roles.

She says, “When I first proposed the production to Khandallah Arts Theatre, it was with the intention of staging an iconic piece of American theatre that contains enduring themes, strong female characters and challenging roles for actors.

“However, the social landscape has since evolved and, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, it’s not enough to simply stage a play that contains physical and emotional violence of men against women with no apparent consequences and then to expect audiences to accept it just because the script was written 70 years ago.”

A chance meeting between Tanya and White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann at a conference provided an opportunity to bring this modern context to the play. By partnering with the well-recognised public awareness campaign, an important message can be incorporated into the production that is missing from the script.

Tanya says, “It’s still early days and I don’t know yet how to weave the White Ribbon anti-violence messages into A Streetcar Named Desire. I’m seeking help from the local theatre community on how to do it in a way that isn’t trite or preachy for the audience. I want to be true to the spirit of Tennessee Williams’ writing, but also state clearly that we don’t condone the outcomes of the male characters’ actions.

“While the play presents a great acting challenge, its themes also present certain difficulties that I’ll be working hard to with my actors to address during the rehearsal process. I’ve already had one male actor decline to audition because he doesn’t want to play a character who attempts to sexually assault a woman.

“I think partnering with White Ribbon will go a long way towards allowing us to present a great period play in today’s world.”

A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed from 11 to 20 October at Cochran Hall, Cashmere Avenue, Khandallah. Auditions were held on Sunday 8 July. For more information of if you have ideas that you wish to contribute email Tanya at streetcarkat2018@gmail.com

 

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