Watching a Tennessee Williams play is like looking at a glass of your favorite beverage.
It is half full or half empty?
Either way, you’re going to drink it.
The same is true with a Williams play.
Does it make us feel bad about life, as his productions do more than just border on the dark and gloomy side?
Or does is make us feel better knowing that even though what we are watching is often depressing, thank goodness it is someone else’s life?
Again, either way, they are so well-written, edgy and moving (in a rather rough sort of way) that we are drawn to watch.
Especially when the production is performed in top-notch fashion, as is the one of “A Streetcar Named Desire” currently playing at the Granbury Opera House.
Director Ben Lokey has put together a stirring presentation of the legendary show that has won just about every award imaginable over the years – both onstage and onscreen.
The playbill accurately describes the story as haunting. It centers around a woman betrayed by love, Blanche Dubois (portrayed marvelously by Jenny Latimer).
Blanche has moved from her small southern town in Mississippi to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella (Amy Watkins) and husband Stanley Kowalski (Blake Webb). She is hoping to escape the past.
Little does she know that she has gone to the worst possible place she could to escape. Stanley, haunted by his own self-doubt and anger, becomes determined to uncover Blanche’s secret and send her packing.
Williams highlights the fine line between heartbreak and insanity – and Blanche is straddling it. Stanley, meanwhile, is waiting for the moment he can push her over.
The show is exquisitely cast, with Latimer giving Blanche every ounce of emotion the character needs for the show to work to its fullest. From her hoity-toity side to her trip into darkness, she keeps us hanging on with anticipation.
Likewise for Webb as Stanley. This is a character who cannot be played a buffoon, but rather as a simple, working man trying to get ahead, sometimes feeling confident, sometimes not, and all the while waiting for his emotions to explode.
The always solid Brian Lawson delivers again as Mitch, Stanley’s friend who falls for Blanche, only to have his heart broken. Adding to the turmoil within him is the question of whether it was Blanche or Stanley who ruined his dream?
As is common with a Williams play, there is little or no joy at the production’s end. But there is plenty of power and lots to ponder on the drive home.
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A Streetcar Named Desire
Who: Granbury Theatre Company at Granbury Opera House.
showtimes: Now through April 5, Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday matinees, 3:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15-$20, call 817-579-0952.