"This is a show that I have been wanting to produce for about 15 years," says director Olin Meadows of A Streetcar Named Desire. "I've really had a solid vision and concept for the show, and finally got to make it a reality."
"To me, this story is heartbreaking from beginning to end, but there's a lot of depth and a lot of meaning in it," Meadows continues. "And I feel like a lot of people kind of leave a lot of the 'whys' and 'hows' out."
For Meadows, diving deeper into Streetcar meant a lot of talking with his cast and crew. "For us, it was a lot of really long, serious conversations about things like alcoholism, sexual addiction, rape culture."
Part of Meadow's longstanding vision for the play was to portray lead character Blanche DuBois as "a survivor."
"I knew that I didn't want Blanch to be this wilting violet... this southern belle that's lost her way," he says. "I wanted to show a woman who had been beat up and had picked herself back up but just couldn't do it anymore."
He also sees Blanche's sister Stella a stronger character than she's sometimes portrayed. "She's a strong woman, and a lot of times people play her as this... fragile, beaten down woman," Meadows says.
Susan Barrat, who plays Stella in this production, was fully on board with this vision of Stella. "She's not.. beaten down. She has a say and she takes a stand."
As Stella's violence-prone husband Stanley, actor Andy Barham embraced a role that is not without some difficulties. "The requirements for the role are taxing," he says. "Just because you have to really take into consideration the fact that you're a man and you're basically creating violent situations for display... not to mention the large part that Brando did for it."
Barham is well aware of the a challenges in trying to create one's own version of a character so closely associated with a particular actor. "But besides all that, the play is in the script," he says. "It was there for Brando, and it's there for us. All that aside, we've made our own interpretations and our own reads on what Tennessee wrote. And I think that was part of the allure for us, that the material is still totally relevant."