A Streetcar Named Desire
November 16 - November 26, 2016
2140 Pumphouse Ave SW, Calgary, AB
“I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. And if that's sinful, then let me be damned for it!”
- Tennessee Williams,
A Streetcar Named Desire tells the story of Blanche, a faded Southern belle, who finds her dissipated life crumbling around her, so she calls on the kindness of her timid sister Stella for some solace. However, she didn't factor in Stella's overbearing husband Stanley, who is intent on possessing total control of his wife and home ahead of the birth of their first child.
A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams which received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.
“This is a Canadian Actors’ Equity Association production under the Artists’ Collective Policy.”
A portion of Spirit Fire Theatre's seat sales from A Streetcar Named Desire were donated to HomeFront Calgary. HomeFront is a non-profit organization that works alongside the justice system, police and community partners to help free families from domestic violence.Since the play A Streetcar Named Desire depicts scenes of violent emotion/action, Spirit Fire would like dedicate each performance to those individuals and families who have sought assistance to recover from abuse and inspire others to get the help they need. Spirit Fire Theatre is very pleased to be part of this movement in benefit of HomeFront Calgary and its mission to end the cycle of abuse.
There are far too few opportunities to see productions of Streetcar so it’s exciting when one comes along, especially one as meticulously crafted as director Paul Welch’s version for Spirit Fire Theatre.
READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
- Louis Hobson, Columnist for the Calgary Herald
With a talented cast, Spirit Fire Theatre puts on a production that sometimes highlights the problems within the script and does have some scenes that are a bit contrived, but overall puts forward a strong production; an examination of the conflict between light and dark, brutal and delicate, simple and refined.
- Jenna Shummoogum
A Streetcar Named Desire is undeniably one of the most well-known American classics – so much so that it has been woven into our collective psyche over the years. Even if you’ve never seen the film or read the play you likely know the iconic moments, images, and lines that have become a permanent part of the North American cinematic and theatrical landscapes.
The amount of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that is at the forefront of Streetcar has definitely been one of the most challenging aspects of staging this show. For our audiences in 2016, with our current understanding of the cycle of abuse and a greater social awareness of power dynamics, trauma, and assault, I felt a lot of personal and artistic responsibility in ensuring that we were staging a respectful and authentic portrayal of the abusive dynamic. My challenge was to create, with sensitivity, a safe rehearsal environment so that our artists could show up vulnerably as they stepped into these very challenging characters and circumstances to tell this complex tale with respect, heart, and urgency. This was no easy task.
After the Second World War, our soldiers came back to an America that was very different from the one they left behind. In this new America, the rules had changed: women were pervasive in the workforce, and the old ways of life were rapidly dying away. Some have argued that the male identity experienced a massive trauma after WWII, and in Stanley Kowalski, Tennessee Williams painted a portrait of everything he found toxic about masculinity. From the brutish behavior to the impulsiveness, the entitlement and possessiveness, and the violent, aggressive conduct, Williams infused Stanley to the brim with all the negative characteristics of a man he could muster. This was a man of the new world, tearing down the old and paving the way for the future – and for Williams, that future was bleak.
From this portrayal back 1947, it is fascinating where we have landed in 2016, particularly in light of the recent American elections and all that has come to the forefront regarding emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and the rape culture with which we continue to struggle. Stanley Kowalski and his enablers, and the culture that allows him to survive, is very much alive today.
Perhaps in the retelling of this tale, we can learn more about ourselves and those around us, and we can build a different future where toxic masculinity can no longer thrive. It is a tall order, but one can hope.