A Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire [1] is a 1947 play by American playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) [2]. Opened on Broadway December 1947 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, starring Jessica Tandy as Blanche and Marlon Brando as Stanley. Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948. Published by New American Library, 1947.

The original text

Translations and adaptations

Elia Kazan's 1951 film with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando made A Streetcar Named Desire world famous.

Translated into Afrikaans by Lucas Malan as Die Trem se Naam: Begeerte.

An Africanised version set in Soweto, devised by Lara Foot-Newton in 2002.

Performance history in South Africa

1951: A West End production of the play, starring British actors Betty Ann Davis and William Sylvester was staged at His Majesty's Theatre directed and co-presented with African Theatres by Brian Brooke. The original Broadway set designs were replicated and improved upon by Roy Cooke.

1975: Presented by Pieter Toerien and Shirley Firth opening 12 August at the Intimate Theatre in Johannesburg, directed by James Roose-Evans, with Gillian Garlick (Stella Kowalski), Sheila Ferguson (Eunice Hubbell), Michael McGovern (Stanley Kowalski), Anthony Fridjhon (Harold Mitchell), Anne Rogers (Blanche Dubois), Gordon Steel (Steve Hubbell), Renier van Wyk (Pablo Gonzales), Michael Wolfaard (A Young Collector), Don Fuller (A Strange Man) and Millie Johnston (A Strange Woman). Decor by Richard Cook and costumes by Christa Scholtz.

1985: PACT staged the Malan Afrikaans translation Die Trem se Naam: Begeerte, directed by Bobby Heaney, with Brümilda van Rensburg (Blanche Dubois), Elize Cawood (Stella Kowalski), Marius Weyers (Stanley Kowalski), Eric Nobbs (Harold Mitchell), Jean Dell (Eunice Hubbell), Ben Kruger (Steve Hubbell), Kobus Kleynhans (Pablo Gonzales), Johan Engelbrecht ((Dokter), Rita Ehlers (Verpleegster), Frans Kalp (Kollektant) and Dot Feldman ('n Vrou). Decor by Andrew Botha and costumes by Frances Michaletos.

2002: The Africanised version set in Soweto was staged at the Grahamstown Festival, directed by Lara Foot-Newton with Moshidi Motshegwa (Blanche DuBois), Vusi Kunene (Stanley Kowalski), Lindiwe Chibi (Stella Kowalski), Sello Sebotsane, Coco Merckel, Dudu Yende, Ramolao Makhene and Michelle Maxwell on the piano. The same production was subsequently staged in the Wits Theatre Complex.

2014: Performed by Carnivals of the Heart in the Arena Theatre at Artscape, 10 to 18 January, directed by Darryl Spijkers, with choreography by Verne Osmand, sets by Zanodean Cassiem, costumes by Noel Pitout and lighting by Ramsay Lotter.

Sources

Brooke 1978. 200-201.

Tucker, 1997. 51.

Pieter Toerien and Shirley Firth theatre programme (undated).

PACT theatre programme (undated).

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

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