Acting Out to perform “A Streetcar Named Desire”

Acting Out to perform “A Streetcar Named Desire”
Erin Devereux as Blanche DuBois. Photo by Riley Robinson

By Abhishek Majumdar, news correspondent

Acting Out, an independent theatre group at Northeastern, is coming to “tell us a funny little story.” Their fall 2017 production, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” premieres Friday after two months of rehearsals.

“A Streetcar Named Desire,” written by Tennessee Williams, tells the story of a high school drama teacher who leaves Mississippi and moves in with her sister and her sister’s husband in New Orleans. The teacher’s flirtatious attitude and constant drinking cause problems for the household and ultimately herself.

“It’s a classic that has never been more relevant,” said K.C. Hut, president of Acting Out.

Hut, a third-year behavioral neuroscience major, said unlike other productions the group performs that are set in modern times, the director of the play chose to set it in its original time period to retain the timeless feel of Williams’ classic. She said the show’s themes of domestic abuse and mental health are still relevant to the audience.

The portrayal of societal themes and challenges as a whole was a test for the cast members, but Hut believes they have been successful. She said the casting process was difficult because many equally talented people auditioned.

“The most challenging aspect was to strive and create the most authentic version of life [and] to bring into focus the humanity reflected at the core of this rendition,” Hut said.

Aidan Bradley, a cast member and Acting Out’s vice president of writing and performance, shared his favorite line from the play: “Are you familiar with the Napoleonic Code?”

He said the line displays the dark and intense themes the show explores.

“We didn’t have workshops, instead we did a lot of group work to help bring the correct characterization and emotions forward,” Bradley said.

Agreeing with Bradley, Hut went on to enlighten one about the in depth studying of the characters of the play by the cast and directors to bring forth the perfect enactment of the part they played in the story.

“The director, writers, cast and tech strived to do justice to this interpretation of a timeless literary work through the story, the umpteen number of rehearsals, preparing themselves and trying to know the audience, some of whom may have pre-conceived notions of the play,” Hut said.

She said there was no need to adapt the story because the realism and personal emotion of the actors is enough. They instead put their own spin on the set and simply replaced racist wordings in the script.

“It’s been exciting working with this time period, having to think about historical and economic accuracy in the set, props and while dressing characters in consideration of their circumstances, as well as facing a challenge in not working on a traditional stage,” said Alyssa Laurencio, the assistant director and a fourth-year communication studies major.

“I believe Acting Out as a whole was really inspired by the idea of adapting such a classic play — quite a departure from the more modern, lesser-known, or student-written shows we’ve recently done,” Director Laura Acosta said. “We’ve put a lot of time into making it authentic to the time period while still having the necessary modernity to resonate with our audience.”

The idea of choosing this particular play came through a suggestion by Acting Out’s Vice President of Marketing Maria Schwartz. The suggestion was in line with the club’s goals of unique rendition, relating to the people and sending a strong message.

Doors open at the 334 Ryder Theatre Lab at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and the show starts at 8 p.m. Entry is free for both Northeastern students and general admission, and the show will be performed again on Saturday night.

Corrections: A previous version of this story misspelled K.C. Hut and Aidan Bradley. It misquoted the line “Are you familiar with the Napoleonic Code?” and incorrectly stated that both “writers and directors” chose to set it in the original time period. It also failed to mention that the show would be performed for two nights and incorrectly stated Bradley’s executive board position.

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