Tickets are now on sale for The Ringgold Playhouse’s final production of 2015, as the company will open a two-week run of Tennessee Williams’ classic drama, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Fresh off the production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” in July, TRP is now switching gears from comedy to a drama with a heavy and dark subject matter.
“This show is the one we knew was going to end up being the crown jewel of our season,” said Adam Cook, TRP’s executive director. “A lot of theatres are hesitant to try something this big and powerful, but we feel like we have the talent and the vision to do it justice.”
The play, which originally opened in 1947, is often regarded among the finest American plays of the 20th century.
The story garnered additional praise in 1951 with the success of the film adaptation starring Vivian Leigh, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden and Marlon Brando.
Following the loss of the family plantation in Mississippi, a fragile Blanche DuBois (Sherry Dee Allen) travels the jungle that is post-WWII New Orleans to live with her younger sister Stella Kowalski and her husband Stanley.
With no money and nowhere else to go, Blanche is forced to shack up in the meager, two-bedroom dwelling after years of upper-class living.
Blanche continuously battles with Stanley, whom she finds to be loud, rough, primitive, and “common.” She explains to Stella that she’s lost the family home and has taken a leave of absence from her position as an English teacher because of her nerves and exhaustion.
As the weeks pass, Blanche garners the admiration of Stanley’s poker buddy Mitch, whom she hopes to have a future with, while also experiencing Stanley’s manipulative, animalistic and abusive ways.
Lines are drawn and crossed as Stanley and Stella welcome a baby into the madness of the family’s world, while Blanche struggles with her delusions, and her constant living in a fantasy world creates chaos as she struggles to keep her lies straight.
Blanche eventually begins to suffer a mental breakdown after her past transgressions catch up with her, and Mitch finds out her truth.
“This is an iconic show that has a very famous movie version, so the big struggle is to try not to be compared to it, or seem like we’re copying the movie or famous productions of it,” said director Daniel Pound. “We are taking things and making it our own.”
Mr. Pound says TRP’s version is shying away from traditional blackouts during scene changes, and will instead have characters and street persons keeping the New Orleans mood going as the tale advances from one scene to the next.
"For this production, I want to pull the audience into the world of these characters,” Mr. Pound explained. “Our audience is surrounded, sometimes literally, by this world. It’s going to be intense, moving, and sometimes even scary or funny….I’m really excited about it.”
Along side Ms. Allen’s “Blanche,” the cast also includes Nikki Sloan as “Stella,” Cook as “Stanley,” Ronald King as “Mitch,” Dexter Coley as “Steve,” Renee Lierow as “Eunice,” Joshua Chisholm as “Pablo” and other “street persons.” TRP veterans Julie Peters and David Dunn round out the cast as a “Nurse” and “Doctor,” as well as playing street characters of their own.
The show will run Sept. 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, and 26 at 7:30 p.m., with a special matinee to take place on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance in person at Ringgold city hall, over the phone at 706.935-3061, or online at www.cityofringgold.com.