A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
[By Tennessee Williams]
Dunedin, New Zealand
When I staged this iconic American classic in New Zealand, I didn't want preconceived notions (like Vivien Leigh or Marlon Brando) to get in the way of the audience's experience. Streetcar is a classic, universal play, like Hamlet. And since we no longer feel compelled to perform Shakespeare with English accents abroad, it made sense to treat Williams with the same respect, and use New Zealand accents.
But it went much deeper than accents. I also felt it important to translate the ethnic and class differences in the play from 1940's New Orleans to Kiwi culture. Therefore, the play's ethnic mix was deliberately Māori, Pacific Island, and Pākehā (white New Zealander) rather than Polish, Mexican, and "Negro" as Williams calls for. This approach was not without controversy, but I felt strongly that the play should not be an exhibit under glass, or a pastiche of a famous film. It should be a living, vital event that we can experience as if for the first time.
This production was also presented a year later at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival with the original lead actors from New Zealand.
Scenery | Peter King
Costumes | Maryanne Wright Smyth
Lighting | Alan Surgener
Sound | David Good
Fights | Allan Henry
Stage Management | Brendan van den Berg
Direction | Jef Hall-Flavin
Blanche Dubois | Jude Gibson
Stanley Kowalski | Jarod Rawiri
Stella Kowalski | Jacqueline Nairn
Harold "Mitch" Mitchell | Errol Shand
Eunice Hubbell | Carol Smith
Steve Hubbell | Chris Horlock
Pablo Gonzales | Brian Rankin
Young Man/Tamale Vendor | Cameron Taylor
Matron/Prostitute | Mārama Grant
Doctor/Drunk Man | Brian McNeill
Mexican/Negro Woman | Olivia Muliaumaseali'i
Young Man/Tamale Vendor | Ben Berry
Matron/Prostitute | Susan Grilli
Doctor/Drunk Man | Scott Hayes
Mexican Woman | Carol Smith
WHAT PEOPLE SAID
...a production to sweep away preconceptions and carry all with it, thanks largely to a virtuoso performance by Jude Gibson in one of the most demanding roles in the theatrical canon.
Stellar performances, a Pulitzer Prize-winning script, and tight, gritty direction combine to make the Fortune Theatre production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar named Desire a theatrical tour-de-force.
[OTAGO DAILY TIMES]
Jude Gibson brings star quality to the role of Blanche, portraying her with sensitivity, understanding and passion.
Jacqueline Nairn as Stella, Jarod Rawiri as Stanley and Errol Shand as Mitch offered stunning performances... Jef Hall-Flavin's production was inspired.