The cast and crew of MTSU Theatre’s final spring 2017 production don’t mind that some audiences may be unfamiliar with the strangeness of kin that permeates the classic “A Streetcar Named Desire” April 6-9 in Tucker Theatre.
“The crazy thing is that college students, they don’t know this play. They didn’t grow up with the movie; it’s famous to their parents but wasn’t to them,” says Murfreesboro sophomore Conner McCabe, who’s taking on the role of Stanley Kowalski, one of American theater’s most iconic and most challenging male characters.
“By limiting ourselves to the standard way of doing ‘Streetcar,’ it’s actually much more freeing to us to tell the story to a generation that hasn’t heard it and maybe needs to hear it. … Stanley was a ‘normal husband’ back then. He’s in a lot of places now. You probably know a Stanley.”
Advance tickets, available at www.mtsuarts.com, are $10 general admission and $5 for K-12 students and senior citizens 55 and older. Curtain times are 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 6-8, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9.
Tickets also will be available at the Tucker Theatre box office 90 minutes before curtain times. You can watch a video preview below, and a full listing of the “Streetcar” cast and crew is available here.
MTSU’s also offering a special lecture, “Catching a 70-Year-Old Streetcar: Why Williams’ Play Still Matters,” at 5 p.m. opening night, April 6, in Tucker Theatre featuring MTSU English professor and Tennessee Williams scholar Robert Bray. The lecture is free and open to the public, and attendees will receive a free ticket voucher good for one performance through the show’s run.
Megan Castleberry, a Cleveland, Tennessee, junior, who’s portraying Stella Kowalski, realized that playwright Williams was making a clear point in creating her character as a shrinking violet alongside her hothouse magnolia sister Blanche DuBois, played by Knoxville senior Hannah Ewing.
“She’s the person who sees bad things happen and doesn’t do anything about them,” Castleberry said of Stella. “I think Williams was trying to say to not be like her.
“When you see someone who is hurt or see someone who is struggling in a situation, you should not sit aside and wait and make sure it’ll be okay but speak up and take action … especially when you feel like you want to stay quiet.”
Ewing, who’s tackling the white-gloved, powdered Blanche before she graduates in May, said she’s enjoying the high-speed test created by presenting the classic drama during a first for Tucker Theatre: three major plays in a single semester.
“I think you can kind of get stuck … [and] not allow yourself to push past a way you’ve been doing a certain way of acting,” Ewing said.
“I can push myself in this role to a professional level in an undergraduate setting. This [four-week turnaround] has presented the challenge of putting a show up fast and really diving in deep, not only into the character but into the background of the character.”
Stage manager Justin Dixon, a Lafayette, Tennessee, sophomore who joked that he “only watches the show,” said being a part of a classic is “an extreme privilege.”
“It’s presented so many opportunities for everyone, whether you’re an actor or on the design team or whatever other role,” he said. “There’s so much you can do with it. There’s so much to learn. It’s such a well-known piece of theater that I feel everyone should experience ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ at least once in their lives.”
For more information about the MTSU Theatre production, visit www.mtsuarts.com.
— Gina E. Fann (firstname.lastname@example.org)