FARMINGTON — Theater Ensemble Arts' production of, "A Streetcar Named Desire," lit up the San Juan College Little Theater stage with an electrifying opening performance Friday evening.

The production of Tennessee Williams' seminal play continues today with a free matinee performance at 2:30 p.m.

Williams' plays are singular. His delicately woven narratives and characters portray the poetry and brutality of life with a bewitching and earnest gracefulness.

"Streetcar," is a story of loneliness and isolation. As Williams himself remarked, "the play is about the ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society."

TEA's production gives Farmington residents a unique opportunity to experience this piece of classic theater in a engaging environment. In the Little Theater, the audience does not simply view the characters. Every line, every change in lighting, every facial expression is amplified in that small space.

The play gives Farmington residents a chance to experience the theater at its most intimate and powerful.

"Streetcar," follows the story of Blanche DuBois (Tasha Irvin), a fading southern belle whose life has been undermined by her romantic illusions.

Blanche goes to visit her sister, Stella Kowalski (Krista Robbins), in New Orleans in a desperate attempt to cling to her fantasy world.

The audience is pulled into this fantasy almost immediately.


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"They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at — Elysian Fields!" Blanche says in her first line.

In Ancient Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields were an area of the afterlife reserved for those related to the heroes, the gods or those chosen by the gods as righteous or heroic.

It is a perfect example of Williams' mastery. Blanche is out of place when she arrives at Stella's building in New Orleans' French Quarter. Stella's husband Stanley (Isaac Bass) immediately wants her out.

Blanche's old Southern ideals cannot coexist in Stanley's gritty, working class world.

Blanche builds a myth for herself and encloses herself in it. She wants desperately to live in a pure reality, unaltered by the harsh brutalities of modern life.

But that reality does not last, and Blanche sinks ever downward into madness.

The task of portraying this fall is no small task. Productions of "Streetcar," succeed or fail based on the chemistry between Blanche and Stanley.

Irvin and Bass rise to the occasion, creating the sexual tension that helps punctuate Blanche's descent into madness.

The play's success is due in no small part to a dynamic set design by Director Heath Cates. He truly creates a neighborhood in the small space of the San Juan College Little Theater. This small space accents the tension in the play as Blanche's fantasy is overtaken by her brutal reality.

For more information on TEA's production of "A Streetcar Named Desire," call 505-326-2839.