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Theatre Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tennessee Williams could play the courteous Southerner, but he could also be brutally frank. His scripts depict agonized, alcohol-drenched families, as well as men in closeted relationships with other men. So when "A Streetcar Named Desire" was adapted from the Broadway stage to the silver screen, things got toned down.

But this Nevada City production restores the original language - which makes the iconic character of Blanche DuBois even more compelling. Versatile actress Trish Adair plays the fading southern belle. Listen to her fume as she insists it isn't her fault that the old family estate has been "lost."

Blanche: "Yes, accuse me, sit there, thinkin' I let the place go… I never let the place go. Where were you? In bed with your Polack!"

Blanche also clashes with working-class brother-in-law Stanley, who doesn't like the way Blanche dresses up and preens.

Blanche: "Stanley, I was fishing for a compliment."

Stanley: "I don't go in for that stuff."

Blanche: "What stuff?"

Stanley: "Compliments to women about their looks. I never met a woman who didn't know if she was good looking without being told, and some of them give themselves credit for more than they've got. I once went out with a doll who said to me 'I am the glamorous type, I am the glamorous type.' I said 'so what.'"

Muscular actor Jimmy McCammon plays Stanley as brimming with raw masculine energy, which is exactly what this script requires. And the dramatic showdown between the impulsive Stanley and desperate Blanche is more candid about violence than the movie dared to be. This is a dark, unsettling play, but it's very impressive, reaching a volcanic climax that's still leaves you breathless, even though most folks know how this famous story ends. Kudos to this Nevada County theater group for mounting a show that reminds us what a remarkable playwright Tennesee Williams was.
A Streetcar Named Desire continues through November 5th at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.
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