Point Park University’s Conservatory Theater Company has opened its production of the timeless A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams at the Pittsburgh Playhouse this past weekend. This story is about a severely tormented woman seeking sanctuary with her sister in New Orleans, whose hostile husband only pushes her over the edge.
Tal Kroser plays Stanley and was definitely intimidating to say the least. His physical presence on stage was always known; his tone and actions match those of the explosive Stanley Kowalski. He does not over dramatize Stanley’s rage portraying him as a completely belligerent monster, but as a suspicious husband protecting his family set off by either insults or booze. Of course I must mention the famous scene where Stanley calls out for Stella after their violent fight. He nailed this entire scene; I believed he was a drunken fool desperately in love with his wife.
Stella Kowalski is played by Brittany Dorazio and she does a wonderful job. She exudes a warmhearted care for both Blanche and Stanley, perfectly adapted to both of their worlds. Dorazio is able to portray both the proper southern demeanor Stella was born into as well as an aggressive defense she learned by being married to Stanley.
The infamous role of Blanche DuBois is performed by Allie York and does well portraying the mental decay of the tormented southern belle. At no point does Blanche ever strike me as having a grip on reality. That being said, upon her arrival she still has an understanding of her situation and a plan to move forward. At first her delusions seem more like a game she plays with herself, until she is backed further into a corner and finally slips into psychosis.
Although the set was rather simplistic, there was a lot of depth to most of the scenes. In the forefront of the stage were the two small rooms belonging to Stella and Stanley. There are no real walls to speak of, but instead, frames and doorways creating the rooms. If a conversation was happening in one room, silent interactions were still happening either outside or in another room, not to be heard until the moment the focal characters crossed the threshold. Through the front door, characters were led outside of the home and up to the streets of New Orleans.
The energy of each scene captures the audience from the foreground drama to the background acting. The physical altercations are choreographed well for the most part. Although some of the fight choreography got a bit awkward; the violent interactions between Kroser and his victims were nerve wracking. I was entertained the entire show and captured by the characters and intimate relationships this show offers.
Special thanks to the Pittsburgh Playhouse for complimentary press tickets. A Streetcar Names Desire runs through April 26, tickets and more information can be found here. Photo credits Jeff Swensen.