Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire - meet co-producer Elissa Hudson


Why did you decide to produce A Streetcar Named Desire?

Tennessee Williams, an iconic classic like Streetcar, staged at LTA, well a producer could not ask for a more perfect setting!  When presented with the opportunity to try and capture all the nuances of a play of this stature, I knew it would prove to be an overwhelming yet extremely satisfying adventure and everyday proved I was correct!  Our extremely talented director, amazing cast and crew, and all associated with this production have worked so hard and will keep the audiences spellbound as they delve into the intricacies that each character brings to the stage.

What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

To feel they are part of the French Quarter during the restless years following World War II.  Travel with Blanche, a fragile and neurotic woman on a desperate prowl for someplace in the world to call her own.  Try to understand Stanley, a sinewy and brutish man, who is as territorial as a panther, and the methods he employs to show that as king of his household any behavior is acceptable. Remember that Stanley and Stella are deeply in love, though somewhat fractured.  

See how Blanche's efforts to impose herself between those two only enrages the animal inside Stanley and places Blanche in no-man's land.  It softens your heart when Mitch (alone in the world) arrives on the scene, as he envisions Blanche as a beautiful and refined woman, yet unfortunately for him Blanche only sees him as a way out of her predicament. Follow closely as the rumors about Blanche are unveiled, which eventually lead to her circumstances becoming unbearable.  Feel, feel, FEEL and walk with each of these memorable characters as they hold you spellbound and relay their story to you!

 Tickets can be purchased online at www.thelittletheatre.com

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