Gillian Anderson drives this ‘Streetcar’

Ben Foster as Stanley Kowalski and Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Photograph by Teddy Wolff.
Ben Foster as Stanley Kowalski and Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Photograph by Teddy Wolff.

Tennessee William’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” is always an occasion, and so it is with the production at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn through June 4. WAG’s own Alison Kattleman had one of the hottest tickets in town. Here’s her report:

“St. Ann’s Warehouse presents an edgy take on “A Streetcar Named Desire” this month. Directed by Benedict Andrews, the daring production features under-your-skin music accompanied by bright lights between scenes. In incandescent hues of blue, green and purple, the light bathes the actors in an ethereal glow as they change clothes in front of the audience, emphasizing the theatricality of what you are witnessing. The action takes place on a continually rotating set, giving viewers a 360-degree view of every nook and cranny of Stella and Stanley Kowalski’s sleek, white apartment, which looks less 1947 working-class New Orleans and more current-day IKEA.

Critics are mixed on this unusual reimagining, but one thing is certain: Star Gillian Anderson steals the show. Fully embodying the iconic character of Blanche Dubois, with a pitch-perfect Southern drawl, Anderson struts about the stage (impressively) on sky-high heels throughout the course of the nearly three-and-a-half hour production, in which she appears in almost every scene. The actress’s sheer stamina in this role is worth applauding, let alone her performance. Blanche, self-conscious of her aging looks but eager for affirmation, easily commands attention through Anderson’s portrayal. She hits all the rights notes as a woman on the edge – one we pity, root for and, ultimately, cannot forget.

For more on “A Streetcar Named Desire,” visit stannswarehouse.org. And for a peek at Gillian Anderson’s fabulous Sri Lankan home, look for WAG’s June “Celebrating the Globe” issue. – edited by Georgette Gouveia

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