By Vedran Svraka
The live preview for “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the classic Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Tennessee Williams, opened this week at Loyola University Chicago to favorable audience reviews.
The play, directed by Jonathon Wilson, a professor of theatre at Loyola, was not only a success, but a learning process as well.
“My main obstacle was getting the actors who play Stanley, Blanche and Stella to understand the complexity of the characters they play,” Wilson said. “This play centers on a clash between an aging Southern Belle (Blanche) and her aggressive common Polish brother-in-law (Stanley). Blanche’s sister (Stella) is married to Stanley and must deal with this conflict between the two people she dearly loves.”
“A Streetcar Named Desire,” the last main stage theatre play of the 2011-2012 season at Loyola University Chicago, was performed in the Kathleen Mullady Theatre in the Centennial Forum Student Union in front of a crowd of about 50 people.
The cast members were Graham Henderson, Angela Sandall, Ceara Zennie, Jeri Tocco, Nick Hess, Mary Franke, Matt Lunt, Tommy Spears, Cody Lyerly, Zhanna Albertini, Jamie McKinney, and Corinne Natyshak.
The cast and crew worked hard to present “A Streetcar Named Desire” due to a short and quick rehearsal process.
“First rehearsal was in March, a little over a month ago,” said Graham Henderson, 20, a junior communications major, who played the role of Stanley Kowalski. “Apparently – and by that I mean that I’ve been told by more experienced theatre majors – it was a very quick rehearsal process.”
The theatre was staged with a proscenium set up, in which the audience is located on one side of the stage with the remaining sides hidden and used by the cast and crew.
Scenic designer Timothy Mann, a professor of theatre at Loyola, utilized the concept of a fourth wall, in which an imaginary wall is placed at the front of the stage through which the audience sees the action of the play.
The stage was set up as a small house with a visible view of the kitchen and bedroom, as well as an attached upstairs room. The scenery and props used on stage were reminiscent of the late 1940s, following World War II.
Many students gave the performance of “A Streetcar Named Desire” favorable reviews.
“I really enjoyed watching this performance,” said Anita Patel, 20, a junior biology major. “I’ve been to a few Loyola plays and I’d say this was the best one yet. I’ve seen the movie, but seeing a live play was a lot more dramatic and a lot more exciting”
Most students in attendance seemed to agree.
“I thought the play was really entertaining to watch,” said Chris Jones, 19, a sophomore advertising and public relations major. “The actors did a really good job on stage, and the lights, sounds, and music really enhanced the performance.”
“A Streetcar Named Desire” will be performed through Sunday, April 22. General admission tickets are $15 at the box office with discounts available for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and senior citizens.
Future viewers should take note that “A Streetcar Named Desire” will definitely be an edgy, dramatic, and emotional play.
“Audiences should expect to see a powerful clash of two individuals, Stanley and Blanche, that ultimately leads to rejection, rape and insanity,” said Wilson.