Jan. 23-24 — SOUTH POMFRET — BarnArts will be holding auditions for “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams on Sunday, Jan. 23 and Monday, Jan. 24 at the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948 and is Tennessee Williams’ most famous work. The production, directed by BarnArts Executive Director Linda Treash, will be performed at the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret April 1-10.
“A Streetcar Named Desire” tells the story of fragile, worn and desperate “Southern belle” Blanche DuBois, who moves to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella, and her new brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. Blanche’s romantic illusions and secrets, both tender and desperate, clash against Stanley’s frank and violent physicality in Williams’ complex script, written in three acts.
Tennessee Williams lived in the French Quarter and he staged the Kowalskis’ modest, two-bedroom apartment on the shabby edge of the Quarter, a location integral to the energy, rawness and trouble brewing in the play. Director Treash lived in New Orleans for six years and became very familiar with the play and its myths during her time there, even seeing it performed at the New Orleans Opera.
“My graduate school program participated in the Tennessee Williams Literary festival every year,” said Treash, “which included not only script work and performances, but a Stella and Stanley shouting contest in Jackson Square.”
“A Streetcar Named Desire” will be BarnArts’ fourth winter community play at the Grange Theatre and one that Treash has had “in the plans” for the last few years. “It is a perfect fit for the Grange,” said Treash. “The set is very simple – two rooms and an outside porch and stair.”
Using the exposed walls of the Grange Theatre, the set will create a city-neighborhood feeling of being close to other people amidst the seedy liveliness of the French Quarter. The atmosphere of the Quarter is a crucial component of Williams’ script, as he wrote passersby into most scenes, as well as the sounds of New Orleans — live jazz in the distance, trains going by, hooting and hollering on the street.
“All things you hear in New Orleans,” said Treash, “although maybe not the train whistle anymore.”
The script calls for the four lead actors, Blanche, Stella, Stanley and their friend Mitch, plus eight other characters and passersby. Some casting will be multiple roles, and the production will require at least eight actors. Detailed info on the roles is available on BarnArts website.
All actors must have current vaccination/boosters to be considered for roles in this production. An online audition sign-up form is available through BarnArts’ website. Rehearsals will be two or three evenings and one weekend afternoon through February and March.
Although Williams wrote the play in the late 1940s, Treash’s vision for costuming and set will be contemporary to reflect the current relevance of the play’s content.
“The play turns a sharp lens on difficult topics that still plague us,” says Treash. “Domestic violence, sexual violence, alcoholism and class conflict are all presented through the intimacy of this complex and contradictory family — a family boiling over in feeling and character,” said Treash. “The brilliance of Tennessee Williams shines through.”
Linda Treash directed BarnArts’ production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performed outside at Feast & Field in June/July 2021, and “Waiting for Godot” in 2019. She has been involved with BarnArts since its inception in 2012, and the executive director of BarnArts since 2015. She holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and has lived in Barnard since 2001.
More info on auditions is available on the BarnArts website, barnarts.org. To connect directly with the director, please email [email protected] or call BarnArts at 802-234-1645.