Trustus Theatre Changes Thigpen Main Stage Into a Round Orientation, and Presents 20th Century Classic A Streetcar Named Desire in a thrilling production
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Trustus Theatre puts a new twist on one of America’s most iconic plays, Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, when it opens on their Main Stage this February. The Main Stage has been converted into a round orientation, meaning that audiences will discover a more intimate, deeper connection with a play that they may already be familiar with. A Streetcar Named Desire will open up on Trustus Theatre’s Main Stage on Friday, February 7, and will run through Saturday, February 22. Soda City Brass Band will play a special concert from 7:30-8pm on Opening Night to celebrate this inaugural production in the round. Tickets may be purchased at www.trustus.org, or by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732. A Streetcar Named Desire is sponsored by Richland Sertoma Club.
This classic Tennessee Williams show came to the Thigpen Main Stage in 2002 and returns in celebration of the theatre’s 35th Anniversary season. One of the most renowned plays of the American theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire introduces audiences to Blanche DuBois, a schoolteacher from Mississippi. She arrives in New Orleans and takes a streetcar named “Desire” to the French Quarter, where her sister, Stella, and Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, live barely above squalor. Blanche’s affections of refinement set her immediately at odds with blue-collar Stanley, who is further incensed when he learns his wife’s aristocratic inheritance—the family estate—has been forfeited to creditors. Believing that Blanche has sold the estate for personal profit and is swindling Stella and Stanley from sharing in the proceeds, Stanley disdains and demeans Blanche, who fights back in the only way she knows: with her genteel charm. The Kowalskis’s Elysian Fields apartment becomes a pressure cooker of sensuality and class tensions, until ultimately erupting in some of the most iconic dramatic moments seen on the 20th Century stage. Trustus Theatre’s production will expose the visceral nature of the play, and show the piece’s relevance in the 21st Century.
A Streetcar Named Desire, the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, was written by playwright Tennessee Williams. It will be directed by Trustus Company Member, Patrick Michael Kelly, who starred in the play as the Young Collector/Doctor when the play was originally performed at Trustus Theatre in 2002.
“A Streetcar Named Desire is a classic for many reasons,” said Kelly. “It has iconic characters and memorable lines, but it also possesses timeless themes. Both Blanche and Stanley play the role of the outsider, each character an alien to the other, both striving to be seen and heard, fighting to keep their power and to control the other. Their conflict speaks to our common collective failure to truly communicate with and understand each other, choosing instead to label and belittle each other in order to preserve our fragile sense of self. This play could be set at any time and place in America. Luckily, for audiences, Williams wrote it in the luxurious setting of New Orleans in the 1940s.”
This play will feature Burke Brown as Stanley Kowalski, Marybeth Gorman as Blanche DuBois, Brittany Hammock as Stella Kowalski, Jon Whit as Steve Hubbell, Shirley McGuinness as Eunice Hubbell, Tashera Pravato as Three Women, Paul Smith as A Young Collector/Doctor, and Jason Stokes as Harold Mitchell (Mitch). Hammock, Whit, and Stokes are Trustus Company Members.
Burke Brown, who plays Stanley, is a guest artists in residency, and he comes to Columbia by way of Atlanta.
“Oftentimes audiences have seen Stanley as the villain of A Streetcar Named Desire,” said Brown. “As humans, it’s easy for us to slap a label on someone or even ourselves as all good or all bad. But in reality, we’re full of paradoxes and Stanley is no exception. I think he’s experienced a lot of trauma and is constantly seeking to distract and numb himself from his pain. On the surface, the themes of violence towards women, misogyny, and substance abuse are things that many of us can still relate to 70 years after the play originally debuted. But even deeper are the effects of trauma and how they manifest in our relations with others. This is one of the most iconic American plays and it’s messages still ring true, maybe even more today.”
Trustus Theatre is bringing a new look to the first three plays of 2020 and they have converted the Thigpen Main Stage into a round orientation. A Streetcar Named Desire will be the first one to be presented in this arena-style staging, which allows for audiences to converge on the play from all sides. Audiences will be immersed in these stories and will be able to more deeply connect with the performers as a new level of intimacy comes to the Main Stage.
“Audiences should catch A Streetcar Named Desire because it’s doubly vital as a history lesson and a hard look in the mirror,” said Kelly. “Our production in particular is exciting due to the creative use of space—experiencing this classic in the round promises for an exceptional and intimate experience with one of American theatre’s most iconic stories. The round setting allows for visceral realism in the acting, and we have a stellar cast featuring some of the very best actors from Columbia and the region bringing their all to this beast of a play. A Streetcar Named Desire is a thriller and our production delivers.”
A Streetcar Named Desire will run from Friday, February 7 through Saturday, February 22, 2020, and tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732 or online at trustus.org. Opening night is Friday, February 7, at 8pm. The performances following are on Saturday, February 8, at 8pm; Sunday, February 9, at 3pm; Thursday, February 13th, at 8pm; Friday, February 14, at 8pm; Saturday, February 15, at 8pm; Sunday, February 16, at 3pm; Wednesday, February 19, at 8pm; Thursday, February 20, at 8pm; Friday, February 21, at 8pm; and Saturday, February 22, at 8pm.
Trustus Theatre believes that ticket prices shouldn’t keep theatre-lovers from being able to experience great professional theatre. This is why they offer one I.P.W.I.C. (I Pay What I Can) matinee on the first Sunday of each non-musical run. For A Streetcar Named Desire, the I.P.W.I.C. matinee is Sunday, February 9, at 3pm. Based on availability, tickets can be purchased for a donation of $1 and they are available on a first come, first served basis one hour prior to curtain at the box office window. Patrons wishing to guarantee seats are still able to reserve preferred seating for those performances at the regular matinee ticket price.
This Main Stage production is sponsored by Richland Sertoma Club.