Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire," which opened
on Broadway in December 1947 to much critical and popular acclaim, arrived at the Campus Theatre Tuesday. And like the New York show, the Theater Arts Department's product, under the direction of George L. Stoughton, deserves much praise.
The mannerisms and portrayals of the characters have been enhanced by appropriate period costumes and an effective set. Although the drama is intense, it is presented in such a way that it is not hard to follow.
Set in the 1940's in the Vieux Carre section of New Orleans, the conflict in "A Streetcar Named Desire" is between a destitute Southern gentlewoman, Blanche Du Bois, and her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski; a crude laborer.
Brought to life by Kimberly Rose; Dimmick, Blanche comes across as extremely nervous, aware that me may soon no longer find her to be attractive. On stage Dimmick is Blanche. Her coy as well as nervous movements and Southern drawl are very natural.
Brian Tracy, as Stanley Kowalski, seemed a bit unsure of himself Tuesday night. He delivered his criticisms of Blanche's character dramatically, but showed little emotion as he listened to Blanche, in the next room, described him as a primitive animal. Tracy is, however, very believable as one of the crass, hard-drinking men in the poker game and in his sexual prowess over Stella.
Blanche's sister, Stella Kowalski, played by Susan Maire, serves as a mediator between Stanley and Blanche. Maire is a sensitive but fickle Stella, defending Blanche when confronted with Stanley's accusations and defending Stanley when his character is questioned by Blanche.
Stanley's friend Harold Mitchell, portrayed by Michael Halverson, is Blanche's last hope for security through marriage.
Unfortunately not only is Mitchell unable to fulfill Blanche's dreams, but Halverson's voice Tuesday fluctuated from soft to gentle to deep and demanding without any notable change in the character to warrant it.
But the actors in FC's "Streetcar" are not emphasized as the only vital contributors to the play.
The set design and costuming also bring the story to life and, more importantly, capture the audience and the oppressive mood.
The Kowalski apartment is a most effective set. The furnishings, from the old metal bed to the nude hanging lightbulb, are very much in keeping with the '40's motif. The stairs outside the Kowalski's rooms, leading up to another apartment, give the set an added dimension.
Costumer Don Reck did a commendable job in keeping with the styles of the '40's laboring class, with the exception of Stella's too bright maternity blouse. lEunice Hubell, the Kowalski's neighbor, in her tacky housedress and scuffed slippers exemplifies a stereotypical housewife. Stanley and his buddies, in their satin-finish pink and yellow bowling shirts, baggy trousers and loafers seem at home in their somewhat crude surroundings.
FC's production of "A Streetcar Named Desire," which runs through tomorrow, combines intense drama and captivating design. Curtaintime is 8 p.m.