This was my first time watching a show at Boston Court. I was looking forward to it because this company has an excellent reputation in the LA Theatre community and consistently produces both innovative new pieces and classics that are still culturally relevant today. I was invited to opening night by my good friend Jonathan, who I truly believe to be the next great champion of the American theatre (just you wait). I think we were a bit overdressed, but in the excitement for the theatre's contemporary take on an old classic, I couldn't help but channel a little modern Blanche into my wardrobe that evening.
Stella: There are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark that make nothing else matter.
This interpretation of A Streetcar Named Desire took great risks on a number of levels and fully committed to its choices. I didn’t always agree with them, but I did honor and love the fact that they were fully committed to. The number one identifier of these risks was Michael Michetti's choice of bringing Tennessee William's original text into an environment of the present. There were some moments where this choice was especially strong and really served the message of the play. One that I disagreed with, yet accepted for being a strong, committed choice was Blanche’s costuming. She was dressed daintily and beautifully, but of the period in which the play was originally written. A friend of mine from work who was a huge fan of this production agreed with me, that in keeping with the play's contemporary environment, we would have liked to have seen Blache dressed in couture fashions of the present. Although I do understand the choice; Blanche herself is a character out of place in Stella's new environment. She is a woman of a different time, living in the past. So I understand the choice to dress her in clothing of the past. But I also think it would have been cool to see her in Gucci and Manolo Blahnik, emphasizing her spending habits and obsession with her image in the modern world.
I'm really glad I went to go watch this play this season, because the character of Blanche brought up a lot for me. How far will we go to "fake it till we make it?" To accept the position that you are falling apart, emotionally, physically and psychologically, but that you have an outward persona to uphold. It's scary. I look at parts of my body, fragments of my "career," sometimes even my voice and I am embarrassed because I think it's all falling apart. This character brings these insecurities to the surface and seeing her live in the present, in an ageist society where there is so much pressure to be beautiful, to be a success and to maintain a "positive" image is a good reminder of what it means to be human. We try so hard to make everything look ok, when that's not always (usually) the case. How much time did I spend getting ready for the theatre that night? If you count the time it took me to put this outfit together and get my hair done: hours of preparation! As you can see from some of my more casual looks at other shows where I just rolled out of work and into the theatre, this is not always the case for me, but you get my point. Does the play make me want to change anything about myself? I've been thinking about it for a few weeks and I'm still not sure. All I do know is that some of Blanche's worst moments reminded me of myself, how I fight with myself internally to maintain an image I have created, that I have put on myself. Sometimes we need to be ok with letting go of that image. Because we are enough as we are, no matter what anyone else says, especially yourself. Honor yourself and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Life is too short and it's not worth the stress.
Blanche: I want to deceive him enough to make him want me.
Tennessee William's A Streetcar Named Desire runs at the Theatre at Boston Court through March 25th. For a fresh, topical, thought-provoking view on this timeless classic, be sure to get tickets soon!