Krzysztof Warlikowski, among Poland's most inventive theatre directors takes his performance on tour throughout Europe this summer. Casting Isabelle Hupert and Andrzej Chyra, the performance makes Blanche Dubois an evocative liminal figure of our times.
Based on the novel by Tenesee Williams and directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, "A Streetcar Named Desire", premiered on February 4th, 2010, at the Theatre de l'Odéon in Paris. The production, casting Isabelle Huppert and Andrzej Chyra as the main characters, is now visiting stages of different companies that have co-produced the play. After its showing in Amsterdam in the first days of June, "A Streetcar Named Desire" shows in Geneva and Hague. Odéon's sources had announced the event as one of most impatiently awaited European projects. Its author was introduced as a talented student and assistant of the world's greates theatre directors: Giorgio Strehler, Ingmar Bergmann, Peter Brook and Krystian Lupa, and declared one of the most important and distinct European directors.
In the play, the Warlikowski once again gives expression to his unique and significant voice on loneliness, unfulfilled desires and human faults.
"Streetcar Named Desire"
The Birth of Tragedy From the Spirit of the Mundane
A more or less happily married couple is visited by the wife's ruined sister. The visit interrupts their everyday life, putting it on slightly different tracks, but in reality, little happens. At first glance the story resembles any other. Yet, Tenesee Williams, an oustanding American eccentric, a declared homosexual and an outsider, never wrote realistic little stories with simple morals. His texts depict a world of secular tragedies which burst through an intricate net of perplexing little rituals of the everyday. Breaking with these rituals wreaks havoc.
The tragedies depicted by Warlikowski can also only be secular, and it is people themselves who are responsible for the fate that meets them.
After its premiere showings in Paris, the performance was very well received by the French Liberation. Rene Solis wrote that Warlikowski's narrative does not spring from pity but an empathic experience of suffering, and terrible melancholy. The effect of a "delirious journey to the infernal" seems to be strenghtened by the set-design and video projections zooming in on actors' faces.
In the performance, Blanche Dubois embodies a figure of our times. It is worthwhile to take a good look at her, before we might end up being those who can only count on the "kindness of strangers". Speaking of the performance in a interview with Rafal Bryndal, Andrzej Chyra (cast in the role of Stanley Kowalski), declared:
We want to go against the traditional American narrative, and the imagery attached to the drama's characters, especially the imagery brought on by the legedary film. We won't be making a sellout, but, as always, we'll risk everything and create something innovative. The issues of emmigrantion, aging, relationships, freedom, addiction and madness - they all remain relevant. We will see what the outcome brings.
For Warlikowski, it is no coincidence of addresses that Blanche ends up on Elysian Fields avenue. The Fields are the best place in Hades, where only true heroes reside. Exposing the tension between death and love, the director juxtaposes the familiar with the strange. In effect, he casts heroes in the liminal sphere. This is the tragically heroic family of our brave new world: emmigrants, strangers, tourists, nomads.
Director: Krzysztof Warlikowski
Translation: Wajdi Mouawad
Text adaptation: Krzysztof Warlikowski
Cooperation with text adaptation: Piotr Gruszczyński, Wajdi Mouawad
Dramaturgy: Piotr Gruszczyński
Set and costume design: Malgorzata Szczęśniak
Costume designer's assistant: Cedric Tirado
Lights: Felice Ross
Music: Pawel Mykietyn
Video: Denis Gueguin
Sound: Jean-Louis Imbert
Isabelle Huppert - Blanche Dubois
Andrzej Chyra - Stanley Kowalski
Florence Thomassin - Stella
Yann Collette - Mitch
Renate Jett - Eunice
Cristian Soto - Boy
For more information, see: www.nowyteatr.org
Source: Piotr Gruszczyński for Nowy Teatr