One of the best-known and most canonical of American stage plays – and equally esteemed as a film – Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is adapted for dance with daring and sensitivity by choreographer John Neumeier. In his 1983 ballet version of the play, Mr. Neumeier is less concerned with simply retelling the precise narrative details of the original than with using the famous story of Blanche Dubois as a way of exploring themes of memory, madness and desire.
The first act finds Blanche in a mental institution, reliving memories of her early life and relationships. This, in effect, functions as a prologue or backstory to the more familiar world of the second act when Blanche visits her sister in New Orleans. The two acts are radically different in conception, mood and feeling. The first, set to music by Prokofiev, is more romantic and reflective in character. The second, to music by Schnittke, takes on a more fragmentary, jarring tone. But both parts are seen and experienced through the consciousness and sensibility of Blanche and, taken together, create a wholly unique and compelling interpretation of one of the seminal works of 20th century drama.
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Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
145 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5H 4G1