By Katherine Karlson
The weight of painful memories and their destructive impact on present lives comprises the dramatic core of A Streetcar Named Desire, which is the next stage offering of the EPAC Repertory Company at the Robert Eckert Theater in Endicott. Its four-day run begins Thursday (Nov. 10).
The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams is a new venture for director Patrick Foti.
“I’m used to musicals and happy endings. This play is tragic and shows that history does repeat itself,” he said. “It’s boldly written, a classic that you don’t mess around with.”
The play revolves around the character of Blanche DuBois, a woman whose life has been undermined by her romantic illusions, leading her to reject — in as far as possible — the realities of life with which she is faced and which she consistently ignores. As the play opens, Blanche has come to New Orleans to move in with her sister, Stella, and Stella’s earthy husband, Stanley. The pressure brought to bear upon Blanche by Stella, intensified by Stanley, leads to a revelation of her tragic self-delusion and eventually to madness.
Jean Graham takes on the role of Blanche in a way that is “very believable,” Foti said.
The experienced cast also features Kylee Thetga as Stella Kowalski, Pierre O’Farrell as Stanley Kowalski and Matthew Gaska as Blanche’s suitor, Harold “Mitch” Mitchell.
“From an acting point of view, there’s not much happiness, and that’s a challenge,” Foti added.
Lighting for the set, a two-bedroom apartment in New Orleans in the late 1940s, is basic but effective, he said.
While not changing any of the distinctive markers of time and place in which the play is set, some racist remarks and individual characterizations are not emphasized, Foti added.
“These are regular, down-to-earth people, and we’re performing it as written,” he said.
Foti thinks the audience will relate to Blanche and how her sad history prevents her from moving forward.
“Everyone has these tragic stories in their past, these feelings held deep inside, but they can still have a good outcome,” he said. “We all have these memories, but Blanche keeps trying to unload her memories on everybody else.”
IF YOU GO: A Streetcar Named Desire will be presented Nov. 10-13 at the Endicott Performing Arts Center at 102 Washington Ave. in Endicott. Thursday through Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday is at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($18 for ages 65+). Purchase tickets online at www.endicottarts.com at “Upcoming Events,” call 607-785-8903 or visit the EPAC box office.