AUBG Takes a “Streetcar Named Desire:” Opinion
“They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at—Elysian Fields!”
This was how the journey in Tennessee Williams’ world started on Monday, Oct.17, in Dr. Karl Djerassi Theater. Prof. Nedyalko Delchev and students mostly from his Intermediate Acting Class introduced the audience to one of Williams’ most famous works, one that is often regarded by the critics as one of the finest plays of the 20th century – “A Steercar Named Desire.”
Before the start of the play, Delchev greeted warmly the audience and spoke about the author Tennessee Williams – about his life and works. It is easier to understand a story if you know whose mind it came from, if you know its background. The audience was introduced to a writer who knew the psychology, the passions and the longings of the women in depth, according to Delchev. Williams had problems similar to those of the play’s main character, Blanche Dubois. He suffered from a severe drinking problem for 20 years before his tragic death, which was also connected to alcohol.
The director praised the qualities of the play, ranking it in the top three of all dramatic texts ever written in America.
“And because it’s an American play, I even sent some of the actors on Work аnd Travel, to get a real American experience in a working class environment!” Prof. Delchev added before he gave start to the performance.
For the next two hours, we were amazed by the performances of a group of talented young actors who managed to express emotions far beyond their personal experience. Having started a little bit unconvincingly, they soon were absorbed by their characters and by the story itself– and so was the audience. And although the director expressed his concern that, due to the delay of the premiere, they had lost some of the play’s highlights and energy, the audience was left speechless. An end so powerful, that it made us think about the inevitable triumph of reality over imagination, the beauty and the tragic of our dreams, and society’s cruel paradoxes.
“I could feel every emotion as if I was characters’ shoes and the dynamic between the actors kept me on my toes during all the scenes,” AUBG student Tsvetana Haydushka said.
Who are the people behind the characters of Blanche, Stanely and Stella? Who are the actors who made the play’s premiere possible? And what did the director have to say about the process?
Prof. Delchev explained that when you’re producing something with very serious intentions, you have minimum three challenges: time management for rehearsal, lack of physical resources in AUBG’s theater, and the audience’s expectations.
“But these things don’t matter when there’s an interaction and energy exchange between audience and performers,” he added.
When asked about their characters and the challenges they faced acting them out, some of the main actors shared:
Despite the ups and downs during the production, which even led to postponing the premiere, all of the actors prefer to look from the bright side and shared some of the most important lessons they have learned from the experience. Rukhadze described it as huge and interesting and mentioned having gotten so much into the role that she started repeating some of Stella’s habits and Stamatova explained how her perspective of imagination has changed.
“Theater has taught me how important trust is, everybody else on stage is responsible to help you carry the action on and you are responsible to help everybody else. It’s a team effort and once the cast feels comfortable together you can afford to improvise on the stage, which in itself is amazing,” Dimitrov said.
Teamwork, patience and devotion – these seem to be the key words for AUBG’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire. But judging from the audience’s reaction, the effort seemed to had paid off.
“The play was halfway through and I was already admiring the talent of the actors and their devotion,” shared Tsvetana Haydushka, first-year student. “The fact that they were all AUBG students didn’t hit until their fellow classmates and friends came up to the stage to congratulate them.” .
Future projects for the cast include: Achi Gugberidze will direct the play “12 Angry Men”; Bogdan Dimitrov will focus back on the AUBG Musical rehearsals, and many more creative projects for the other members ot the team. Another joint project for the future is also in discussion.
We can only wish them luck and wait for the next streetcar (maybe named Desire?) headed to a new, promising direction.