A Streetcar named desire

by Tennessee Williams
UT Austin Mainstage | Fall 2014

About This Production

Thanks to the incredible Williams archives housed in the Harry Ransom Center - including handwritten pages of early drafts - I was able to approach this extant play as if it were new. After comparing the published editions of the text to one another and those early drafts, I chose to use the New Directions rather than the Sam French acting edition of the text, as it was closer to Williams' final draft and retained a good deal of the magic that the acting edition - heavily influenced by Elia Kazan - excised. 

This was my thesis production at UT Austin; in fact, my mentor literally dared me to take it on. I couldn't very well back down from a dare - and that challenge helped reinvigorate my skills with moment to moment actor work and the essential foundation of contemporary American drama exemplified in this near-perfect play. This project also clarified the value of producing excellent extant plays: stories like this ask questions we still haven't solved and the familiarity of the title and author sometimes give us room to illuminate our current challenges in ways audiences don't expect. Also - a masterpiece is a masterpiece, no matter when it was written, and there is always value in learning from this kind of excellence. 

photos by Lawrence Peart, Courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin