Running from the 5th to the 9th of September 2017, Rapture Theatre’s retelling of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire matched a powerful narrative with an equally powerful performance. The scene was captivating from it’s outset, with the haunting chimes of New Orleans’ railway playing as we arrived at our seats, and though the whole action of the play takes place in a crowded two bedroom apartment and its street outside, the performance never faltered in its production of energy.
The play itself had a longer running time than audiences may have been expecting, totaling 3 hours with the inclusion of the intermission, but it was in the careful attention to detail that this sense of time melted away. Each performer on the stage brought a layer of complexity to the story, combining the intensity of William’s original characters with a notably modern sense of cultural disruption. Although sticking to a traditional use of costume, with the ladies’ nipped in waists and the classic a-line silhouette of the 1940s, Rapture theatre successfully brought the timeless tale of love, abuse and mental decay to the 21st century.
The most rivoting of the chaotic bunch, Blanche DuBois as performed by Gina Isaac was the star of the show. The all-consuming nature of ‘love and war’ was perfectly characterised in Isaac’s portrayal of the twisted sister, showcasing moments of dance, music and sinister comedy in perfect unison with the constant intensifying of her persona. As DuBois spiralled out of control, so too did Isaac deepen her presence on the stage, truly drawing her audience into the intricacies of Blanche’s life, suffering and ultimate breakdown.
With this intense spotlight on the delicacy of mental health, the world of 1940s New Orleans’ again raises its relevance to a modern audience. With government funding for mental health and wellbeing constantly being challenged, Rapture theatre’s performance of Streetcar is central to a newly emerging movement for the awareness and devillanisation of mental health.