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A Streetcar Named Desire Presented by SUNY Theatre: Illusion and Reality Collide In Tennessee Williams' Acclaimed Drama

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04/02/2002

NEW PALTZ -- Desperately clinging to a disintegrating illusion of gentility, Blanche DuBois, the central character in Tennessee Williams' great American tragedy A Streetcar Named Desire, is drawn into a torrid conflict between lofty fantasy and base reality. The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz revives the Pulitzer Prize-winning play in a powerful production that runs April 11th-21st in Parker Theatre.

Stanley Kowalski (Jason Rohloff) and Blanche DuBios (Catherine Nasca) in the SUNY New Paltz Department of Theatre Arts Production of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' A Streetcar Named Desire reveals the very depths of Blanche DuBois, who, in trying to forget her checkered past and having nowhere to turn, goes to live with her sister Stella in a seedy section of New Orleans. Stella's boorish husband Stanley Kowalski resents Blanche's aristocratic affectations and accuses her of withholding inheritance money that rightfully belongs to Stella. On the fringes of sanity and vainly trying to start life anew, Blanche soon discovers that she cannot outrun the past, and the stage is set for her final, brutal confrontation with her brother-in-law.

Tennessee Williams has written over 25 full length plays and is one of the most important forces in twentieth century American drama. His plays include Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie and The Night of The Iguana, among others. Williams was the recipient of a Tony Award for his 1951 screenplay, The Rose Tattoo. A Streetcar Named Desire won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947.

Williams was also a poet and fiction writer. Like many of his writings, A Streetcar Named Desire is intensely autobiographical. He admitted that it was his favorite play because "it said everything I had to say." In A Streetcar Named Desire Williams' own complex life is divided between the two protagonists-Blanche and Stanley. "I was and still am Blanche...but I have a Stanley in me too," said Williams.

Director Jack Wade remarks: "It is sometimes hard to imagine that A Streetcar Named Desire was written fifty-five years ago. There is a freshness to this poetic masterpiece that resonates in our troubled modern world. A Streetcar Named Desire embodies the conflict between old-world Southern graciousness-represented by Stella and Blanche-and the aggressive industrial world that Stanley typifies."

"There is something prophetic in all of Williams' work," continues Wade, "a warning of a time to come in which technology and materialism will overwhelm humanism. What is the resolution to this great American tragedy? Perhaps it is that we will leave the theatre changed-as we should with all great drama-and that we will be more mindful of that gentler side of humanity before it slips away entirely." The SUNY New Paltz Theatre Department tradition of Friday night forum will be presented on April 12th. At this free event an invited guest speaker will discuss aspects of the play that further illuminate the production for the audience. Friday night forum begins at 7:00pm in the theatre. Following the performance, audience members are invited to remain in the theatre for a period of questions and answers with the cast and director.

This production is performed April 11-13 and 18-20 at 8:00pm and April 14th and 21st at 2:00pm. Tickets are $12 and $10 for seniors and may be purchased at the McKenna Theatre box office Monday -Friday 11:30am to 4:00pm beginning March 28th. Tickets may be purchased with a credit card by pone at 845-257-3880. On performance nights, the box office opens one hour prior to curtain. Parker Theatre is wheelchair accessible and equipped with assisted listening devices for the hearing impaired; please inform the box office of your accessibility requirements when ordering tickets.

Images from the production are available online in .JPG an .TIF file formats at www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/streetcar.html. For additional information on other upcoming arts events at New Paltz, visit our online calendar at www.newpaltz.edu/artsnews, or by calling 845-257-3872.

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