Kudos to the Arden Theatre Company for finally presenting it’s production of Tennessee William’s classic, A Streetcar Named Desire, which was started but then halted in 2020.
There is some very good work here done by the entire ensemble. Matteo Scammell is a terrific Stanley Kowalski. He not only channels the unmitigated rage of the character, but is adept at finding the impish humor of the man which at times makes Stanley not unlikable.This isn’t easy to do, as the character is a brutal perpetrator of domestic violence against his wife and her sister. Katharaine Powell’s interpretation of Blanche DuBois confused me. My reading of the character has always been that Blanche is a highly sexual creature who sugarcoats her behvior with the guise of a ladylike Southern Belle. She flirts, she teases, yes, but these are subtle ripples in an otherwise refined and poised demeanor. Ms. Powell’s Blanche was very forthright in her deportment. Emilie Krause is very naturalistic as Stella, Stanley’s wife. Her portayal is soft and malleable and in constant adoration of Stanley. Akeem Davis as Mitch is a bold and interesting choice and his performance was very moving. I especially enjoyed his shy approach when he first lays his eyes on Blanche. Taysha Marie Canales is a high-spirited and funny Eunice, the Kowalskis’ neighbor.
The set by Paige Hathaway is a wash of blue and green with a giant see-through curtain which is pushed back and forth by the actors. It creates separation and yet we can view clearly what is always transpiring on either side. The original musical interludes by Daniel Ison add to the ambience during scene changes. This is a beautiful but long play and director Terrence J. Nolen should be commended for keeping it fresh and moving at a spritely pace.
Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
On the F. Otto Haas Stage – Now through February 13, 2022
Tickets are available online at ardentheatre.org.
A digital version will be available to stream February 14-27 go to ardentheatre. org Patrons must show vaccination documentation and wear masks.