Fall play rolls into PNW theatre, focuses on women

PNW’s Spotlight Theater Guild and Theater 290/390 class are co-producing “A Streetcar Named Desire,” a play by Tennessee Williams, which will be performed in Alumni Hall from mid November to early December.

Director Morgan McCabe has returned to PNW after twenty years to teach Theater 290 and 390, an acting and production class.

On the surface, the play follows the story of Stella, Blanche, and Stanley, portrayed by PNW students Laura Pankowski, Laura Riggle and Ranen Toosley, respectively, attempting to live together. However, because of the personality clash between Blanche and Stanley, Stella’s relationship with her husband begins to suffer.

However, this story demonstrates the battle between the old South and the new society of the working class, depicted by the helpless Southern belle, Blanche, and the macho New Orleans man, Stanley.

“There is also a tension between the patriarchal society and the helplessness of women, whom are often the focus of Tennessee Williams’s plays. They are very strong women, but they are often the victims of society,” McCabe says. “The objective I had is to tell the story with great honesty, truthfulness in acting, boldness and clarity so that when the audience watches it, they can enter the story. ”

To pick out a play to perform, McCabe had her students create a list of ten contemporary plays and weigh the pros and cons of each play. In the end, it was a tie between “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Alice and Wonderland.” McCabe made the executive decision to choose “Streetcar” in order to make it more challenging for her students.

McCabe has a group of actors who all have diverse experiences. She had to be specific and teach some the basics of theater, while she gave a bit more freedom to those who have had prior experience. McCabe’s main focus was making sure the actors understood the meaning and motivation behind their lines.

“I believe firmly that good theater tells a story that people can see themselves in and they can learn to avoid or cope with the situations they see on stage,” McCabe said. “I also believe in the cathartic effect, which happens when there is a genuine response when watching people on stage.”

Performances at Alumni Hall in the Student Union & Library, 2233 173rd Street on the Hammond Campus, are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Nov. 16-17 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.