Krzysztof Warlikowski has returned to the Odeon Theatre in Paris after his superb production of "Krum" with a refreshing new production of Tennessee Williams' "Streetcar Named Desire". For the occasion, Warlikowski has commissioned a new translation by Wajdi Mouawad. Isabelle Huppert plays the role of Blanche DuBois, and Andrzej Chyra takes on the role of Stanley Kowalski...
Isabelle Huppert during the rehearsal of "Un Tramway" at Odeon in Paris, France
Krzysztof Warlikowski has returned to the Odeon Theatre in Paris after his superb production of "Krum" with a refreshing new production of Tennessee Williams' "Streetcar Named Desire"Blanche Dubois, her suitcase in hand, shows up at her sister's house. Her dreams shattered, her solitude, her despair, are all still secrets that she has shared with no one. She has nowhere else to go, or any way to escape the person she has become. And her last refuge, in this popular neighborhood in New Orleans, at the end of the streetcar named desire, is a little ground-floor apartment where the proximity of bodies, night after night, for months on end, will finally turn into a tragedy.
Tennessee Williams was a genius with titles. They are unforgettable: "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", "A Streetcar Named Desire", "The Night of the Iguana" all immediately suggest an atmosphere fraught with trouble, one that is violently sensual. For today's audience, these titles are more than anything, the titles of famous films. A Streetcar Named Desire was first performed as a play, then adapted for the cinema by Elia Kazan, who directed, both on stage and on the screen, the young Marlon Brando playing the role of Stanley Kowalski - unquestionably the most famous Polish-American role in modern theater.
Williams' characters were all born at the same time as a great generation of actors, those who embodied an exciting and novel style of acting. The famous Actors' Studio seemed to have been invented expressedly in order to give life to characters such as Stella, Stanley's wife, to whom Stanley is bonded by an overtly physical passion. Blanche, her sister who has lost her social ranking and is an inveterate liar, dreams of being a distinguished lady and has never recovered from her marriage to a homosexual. Stanley, who is opposed in everything to Blanche, tries to be virile to the point of being blind. Stanley, for whom spoken language is a hurdle, violent in his gestures, a savage...and who will perhaps never understand the extent of his actions...
Thirty years after Tennessee Williams' death, his plays deserve to be appreciated for the masterpieces they are. It is time to meet up again, with one of the great playwrights of the 20th century, and to listen to what his dramatic and unique universe still has to say to us today, beyond the clichés of the period (which may not even be clichés), concerning desire, neuroses, or the solitude of men and women...all of this often gives us the impression that we know Williams without truly taking the time and effort to read him.
At the time, A Streetcar Named Desire was adapted for the stage in France by Jean Cocteau. In order to rediscover this masterpiece, Krzysztof Warlikowski
, has returned to the Odeon Theater after his superb directing of Krum, and for the occasion, has commissioned a new translation by Wajdi Mouawad, who will appear in another «role» during our upcoming season. The part of Stanley Kowalski will be acted by Andrzej Chyra
, who played the role of Roy M. Cohn in Angels in America, and who has recently acted in Katyń
, an historical drama directed by Wajda
. As for Blanche DuBois, a lost soul in a world of brutes and whose overly sensitive heart and mind shall be destroyed before our very eyes, he has chosen the monumental, Isabelle Huppert.
Théâtre de l'Odéon in Paris is one of the oldest French theatres. The building was erected in 1779-1782, and in 1841 it acquired the status of the second National Theatre. In 1946 it merged with Comedie Francaise. And in 1959-1968, it was renamed into Théâtre de France. Devasted during the events of May 1968, it was later re-established under the new name Théâtre National de l'Odéon (1970).
Many great artists debuted on the stage of Odéon, including Sara Bernhardt and Jean-Louis Barrault, theatre's managing director in 1959-1968. Over the years Odéon evolved into specializing in presenting modern, often very innovative, drama.
In December 2007, Warlikowski directed at the Odéon Hanoch Levin's Krum, which two years earlier had been shown at the Avignon theatre festival. His other plays presented in France include Oczyszczeni/Cleansed, Dybbuk i Angels in America. In 2003, his Midsummer Night's Dream was staged at Théâtre National in Nice. At the Paris Opera, Warlikowski staged Gluck's Iphigenia in Tauris (2006), Janáček's The Makropulos Affair (2007), Wagner's Parsifal (2008) and Szymanowski
's King Roger
- Un Tramway based on A Streetcar Named Desire
author: Tennessee Williams
translated by: Wajdi Mouawad
adapted for stage by: Krzysztof Warlikowski, Wajdi Mouawad, Piotr Gruszczyński
directed by: Krzysztof Warlikowski
scenic design and costumes: Małgorzata Szczęśniak
lights: Felice Ross
music: Paweł Mykietyn
actors: Isabelle Huppert, Andrzej Chyra, Yann Collette, Renate Jett, Cristian Soto, Florence Thomassin
Théatre de l'Odéon in Paris
Place de l'Odeon, 75006 Paris
premiere: February 4, 2010
subsequent shows: February 5 - April 3, 2010