Meet Desire, A Streetcar
The Bayou Playhouse in Lockport has a special treat for those of you who enjoy theater—and for those of you who don’t yet know you enjoy theater. A Streetcar Named Desire has made its debut on the bayou. The play opened at the theater on Feb. 22, and will run through March 24.
“It’s about a Southern belle, Blanche DuBois, who lives on a plantation in Mississippi, sort of a Scarlett O’Hara type,” says Perry Martin, director of the play and producing artistic director of the playhouse. “Her sister, Stella, left 10 years before that and wound up marrying a Y’at from the French Quarter, and lives in the lower, poorer section of the French Quarter in the 1950s. [Blanche] loses the plantation and comes and lives with her sister, and she’s kind of high society. The show is about the deterioration, mentally, of this faded Southern belle. Through the play, we watch her deteriorate into complete insanity amongst all these New Orleans characters.”
This play is no easy feat, and Perry knew that. The show is not often seen on stage because it’s such a massive undertaking with the number of people involved in putting a production like this together—and the amount of skill needed to pull it all off. So Perry brought in four professional actors to play the lead roles and intermingled seasoned locals from Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes to play the other roles. Meshing together two different sets of casts who practiced separately for the majority of rehearsals was an “unusual” experience, but Perry, of course, made it work. This is his 99th play, after all.
Mary Bliss Mather plays the deteriorating Blanche Dubois. Mary played Maggie the Cat in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for the playhouse, and since then, Perry knew he had found his Blanche. Andrea Watson plays her sister, Stella Kowalski. Stella’s husband, Stanley, is played by William Schneider, a role made famous by Marlon Brando in the film version. And Travis Resor plays Harold “Mitch” Mitchell, a friend of Stanley who’s often called a ‘mama’s boy’ and eventual suitor of Blanche.
Perry has wanted to direct this play for 10 years, and his dream has finally come to fruition. He feels that he has finally been able to bring together the right people to do the play justice.
“It’s quite a mountain to climb with a piano strapped to your back, but I’m very proud of the results,” Perry says. “And I think the audience is going to be blown away by the quality of the show.”
The Bayou Playhouse centers itself on Southern playwrights, and makes it a goal to feature them as often as possible, especially Louisiana-based playwrights or plays about the state. Tennessee Williams often cited New Orleans as his home, despite being born in Columbus, Miss. This is a classic play that is a perfect fit for the playhouse’s mission.
A Streetcar Named Desire will play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 24 at the Bayou Playhouse in Lockport. Visit www.bayouplayhouse.com or call 1.888.992.2968 for reservations.