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Actor Neil Twohig, who portrays Mitch in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” sees Tennessee Williams’ famous play as being about how people react differently to life-altering events.
“It’s about how we cope with change and loss,” said the Waldorf resident.
Williams’ tale will be presented by the Tantallon Community Players March 1 through 3 at the Harmony Hall Regional Center in Fort Washington.
Set in the 1940s after World War II, the story follows the DuBois sisters — Stella, who left the failing family plantation in Mississipi, moved to New Orleans and married the crude and brutish Stanley Kowalski, with whom she has a passionate relationship, and Blanche, a school teacher, who stayed and tried to keep the plantation going, but ultimately lost it.
Homeless, Blanche goes to stay with Stanley and Stella, who is pregnant, in a working-class neighborhood in New Orleans, setting in motion her final mental and emotional disintegration.
“Stella marries Stanley and lives a life that’s foreign to her, and Blanche copes by going a little bit crazy,” said Twohig, who plays Blanche’s suitor in the play.
It is the first time the company has presented “A Streetcar Named Desire,” although it has previously presented another Williams’ play, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Tantallon’s artistic director and producer Charla Rowe said a straight dramatic play with no music will be a change from the company’s fall production of “The Color Purple,” which has been nominated for a Washington Area Theatre Community Honors award in the “best musical” category as well as other categories.
In “Streetcar,” Blanche arrives with the clothes on her back, and the airs and pretensions she uses to help maintain her dignity soon infuriate Stanley, who feels he isn’t good enough for Stella. The couple was happy before Blanche’s arrival, but her unwanted presence brings to the forefront the class difference between them and divided loyalties for Stella.
Enter Stanley’s friend Mitch, who visits the apartment to play cards. He is smitten by Blanche’s refinement and her obvious need for someone, which is as great as his own.
“Mitch is lost,” Twohig said. “He’s the only one of his friends who isn’t married. He thinks he can settle down when he meets Blanche DuBois. … He interjects innocence into the play.”
“This play has a history to it,” Rowe said. “It’s an American classic. … It just tears you all to pieces.”