Upon entering the MAAS Space, with it’s exposed beams and brick walls, and wooden floors, the very sensation of being engulfed in 1940s New Orleans in summer ensues. An ensemble of ‘neighborhood locals’ mill around, socializing, drinking, and dancing to live jazz piano while the southern hospitality pours forth with high spirits from bottles of bourbon. Seating is incorporated so that the rooms of the Kowalski’s second story flat are intriguingly visible; the bedroom, cordoned off with sheer curtains, hung upon clothesline and slightly drawn, wafting on the slightest breeze. To the side sits a small silk settee and red lamp and in another area resides a red icebox among other exquisitely retro items. Into this simmering southern melee walks Blanche DuBois (Rebecca Jane Cureton), in all her white woolen glory, replete with fancy hat and handbag, immediately out of place, and so palpable vital throughout the milieu of emotion depicted in this piquant portraiture of Tennessee Williams’ classic tale.
The cast, under the direction of Meg Trelease, bring the pulse of the play to the fore: Cureton’s elegant, essential Blanche Dubois, Kylie Fennie’s primal Stanley, Victoria Rose Bonito’s warm, wise Stella, and Newton Buchanan’s evocative Mitch. Joanna Volpe and ShaunYates are fun as Eunice and Steve. Brock D. Vickers gives his characters poise and presence, and Merceedes Simmons perks things up whenever on stage. Theater space is superbly utilized. The set (Elizabeth Campbell) and colors complement dramatic tension, as does terrific period costuming (Amanda Healy). Lighting (Newton Buchanan) launches beautiful shadows and brightness for Cureton to play in, and Kevin Mucchetti’s fabulous piano rounds out a sensational show.
[Deep Blue Theatre Collective at MAAS Building, 1325 N. Randolph Street] September 10-20, 2016; fringearts.com/streetcar-named-desire.
Running time around two hours with one intermission.