Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire - meet the director Kristina Friedgen


Why did you decide to direct "A Streetcar Named Desire"?
To be honest, Streetcar... is my all-time favorite show and Williams' my favorite playwright.  When I saw LTA was doing the show this fall, I jumped at the chance to propose my "vision".  The play is just chocked full of rich text--whether you're an actor or a designer, there's just so much to work with and definitely some room to play in order to find the right tone of the play.  Yet, Williams gives you boundaries, he's very specific about what his intentions were with the text--how it should sound and be heard.  Much more like a composer than a playwright.  It makes it very fulfilling to work in his service and tell this story.

What were you trying to accomplish with the telling of this play?
Some director's direct to put their own 'spin' or 'mark' on a play.  For me, I like to see myself as a storyteller.  Williams' has written an amazingly rich story and I'm honored to get to shape the way LTA's audience will hear it.  I wouldn't say that I have anything shockingly 'unique'--it's not set in some odd place or time.  I wanted to form a cast that really embraced these characters--their flaws, their joys, the dreams, their fears--and could understand and portray the tension of this piece, so that we could really do justice to William's script.

What were the challenges as a director?
I think one of the challenges is that almost everyone has had some contact with the play, whether they read it in a high school lit class or saw a production or just know Marlon Brando screaming "STELLAH!" or have only heard the line "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers" in pop-culture.  That's a benefit for sure, but it's challenging to 'live up' to others expectations--especially when you don't really know what they are.  But I'm very proud of my cast and my designers and artistic team, they have done a wonderful job of finding their own truth and not tried to form performances or designs that are necessarily 'iconic' for the sake of being iconic.

The other big challenge is to recreate the outside world, which Williams details so clearly with only 4 ensemble actors.  They've done an absolutely wonderful job of differentiating their physicality and voices for each role and with the support of the sound design, we've been able to tackle that challenge.

What should the audience take away from this play?
As I said earlier, this play is a part of the American zeitgeist.  Its indelible mark has been left on our culture, from Marlon Brando’s unforgettable cry for “Stellah!” to Blanche’s famous line, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Something about it shakes us to our core. Whether you side with one character or another, you cannot deny the humanity of each. Their desires and dreams, their fantasies and flaws—all of them are understandable, relatable and touching.

 Ticket can be purchased online at www.thelittletheatre.com

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