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, to be presented 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.”
Megan Castleberry, a Cleveland, Tenn., junior who’s portraying Stella Kowalski, realized that playwright Tennessee 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 the actress 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 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,” Ewing said.
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 tickets or more information, visit mtsuarts.com.