Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A Streetcar Named Desire

Photo: Ken Howard
It's the strength of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire that is reflected in the relative success of this all-black revival, not Emily Mann's directorial decisions. Well, and perhaps a little of Eugene Lee's taut set design, which brings an oubliette-like feel to the home of Stanley (Blair Underwood) and Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega) that fits the melodrama of Blanche (Nicole Ari Parker), who announces that "Only Mr. Edgar Allen Poe could do it justice." Despite issues having to do with the miscast Rubin-Vega and Mann's interstitial atmosphere-draining vignettes and music, A Streetcar Named Desire still sweats a rawness that's undeniably powerful, tinged as it is by sorrow, delusion, and naked needs. And when two powerful actors collide -- as with Wood Harris's reversal-filled Mitch and Parker's ailing and flailing Blanche -- the audience is liable to break out in sweats, too.

(Press ticket; K2)

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