||December 15, 2005
Review - "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Carolyn Beaty
Close your eyes and picture a set
designed by Warner Brothers, glittering costumes, precise hair and
makeup, and hours of preparation including voice practice for the
perfect New Orleans accent. Sound like a professional production of
"A Streetcar Named Desire?" Not quite, but Eagle Rock's play
production did a fantastic job of making it look professional. With Mr.
Copley's expert and experienced guidance and the help of several
professionals, "A Streetcar Named Desire" was performed with
talent and tenacity.
The story begins when Blanche DuBois
(Violet Ruiz), a southern belle and aristocrat-at-heart, travels from
Laurel, Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana to live with her sister,
Stella Kowalski (Melissa Chan) and brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski (Siddhartha
Calacuayo). Blanche has lost the family's old plantation home and what
is left of her money and seeks refuge with the last family tie she has.
While in New Orleans, Blanche meets Mitch
(Carlo Estella) and begins a romance with him. Unfortunately, Stanley
concocts a plan to smear the reputation of the mildly unstable, but
ultimately likeable Blanche. His plan succeeds, exposing Blanche's
sordid past of promiscuity and an ex-husband who committed suicide, and
Mitch turns against her. In the climactic closing scene of the
production, Blanche is taken to an insane asylum amid utter mayhem in
the Kowalski house.
Violet Ruiz delivered an emotional and
heart-rending performance as Blanche. Her highbrow portrayal and
emphatic gestures completed and gave depth to an already complex
character. Not to be overshadowed by Miss Blanche Dubois, both Calacuayo
and Chan gave fantastic performances as Stanley and Stella. Their
onstage chemistry was incredible and Calavuayo's characterization of
Stanley was reminiscent of Marlon Brando's portrayal in the 1951 movie
adaptation. Carlo Estella gave a shining performance as a multi-faceted
character that starts out meek and mild, but finishes passionately and
violently. The authentic accents, though occasionally garbled, served to
enhance the performances of these fine actors and actresses.
The supporting cast and musicians are not
to be forgotten. Their performances gave the show a finished quality
that tied together the raw emotion felt from the main characters. Elan
Sadeh (bass), Ian Turner (piano), and Katie Ferrara (vocals) give the
performance a feel of authenticity and style, while the dancers provide
an intriguing aspect of the performance during the set changes.
After the show, the cast members took
their final bows and wandered out of the backstage area to greet adoring
fans. Noticing the expressions on their faces, it was obvious that all
participants in the show were emotionally and physically drained because
each and every one put their heart and soul into the production. The
cumulative effort of hours of work, from set design to make-up to
costuming to rehearsing, was displayed in a brilliant performance. A
person sitting behind me commented afterward that this was the best play
they had ever seen at Eagle Rock High, and this reviewer would tend to
agree. The last line of the play perfectly sums up the quality
performance: "This game is seven-card stud."
Congratulations again on the show.
Monique and I had to leave before we could accost you-- with praise
after the show. You looked pretty busy, anyhow. It was such fun to watch
those kids come alive, some for the first time, on stage. And I suspect
it might have been a moment where it all felt like it came together for
you, with your lovely wife and child at your side, your students around
you, and a show well done.
But did I read correctly -- you're doing the Scottish play next? brrrrrr.....!
You're a brave man, Mr. C. :-D Producer
Hello Mr. Copley:
This is Emmanuel Sadorra, the former ERHS student who promoted the
Friars Foundation screewriting competition last week.
I attended the Saturday night showing of "A Streetcar Named
Desire" and was absolutely blown away. Melissa Chan was especially
impressive! Fantastic show, indeed.
Thanks for showing interest in the screenwriting competition. I hope you
encourage your students to enter. It's really a wonderful oppurtunity!
Please keep me posted on your future projects. If you ever need a gopher
or assistant, let me know!
Thanks again and great job on the play!
Sorry for not sticking around to see you and the fam after the play - it
looked like it would be hard to get to you! :-)
The play was FABULOUS! What you do with high school productions is
amazing. The setting, the scene changes, the feel of the whole
experience. What an amazing job you did... and those students! How
fantastic are they?!
Everyone was great.... but Stella... she was incredible.
Thank you so much for inviting us! You really are such a great teacher.
I miss working with you.
Thanks again for inviting Alvaro and I to your production of A Streetcar
Named Desire. The production was a magnificent achievement. The
performances of your leading actors were finely crafted with much detail paid to
body language and rich subtext all of which accented the brilliant
writing of Mr. Williams. What impressed me highly was the ensemble work
that supported the telling of the story as Alvaro and I sat near the
front, we could hear all of the Oad libsą dialogue that lent
character and life to the story.
We could see up close the joy in the dance
ensemble and the careful crafting of the town characters from the
woman who sold roses, to the fighting lovers.
In addition to the actors, your music ensemble and singer lent a
surprisingly rich underbelly to the story and setting in New Orleans.
The set was finely crafted and was utilized to itąs best by your
staging. The costumes and hairstyles added a historical element and
really transformed the audience back in time. The stage fight too, was extremely well
executed by your fine young actors.
As Managing Director of a multicultural
theatre company here in Los Angeles, it was a pleasure to see such
commitment from your talented performers and
stage crew the production was professional in every aspect from
the design, to the performances, to the stage crew behind the scenes. I
certainly look forward to working with you and the Eagle Rock High
School Stage in the future and hope to be able to offer your students
work in a
professional local theatre as they leave school and are looking for jobs
in the arts.
Thanks again and please congratulate cast and crew on a job well done. Break a leg during your final shows!!!
Will & Company
it was one of the best plays I've EVER seen, including
professional level performances! I know that sounds like hyperbole but
I'm not exaggerating. Russ deserves huge kudos for the level that he
brought these kids to. the
acting of the leads was absolutely phenomenal for high school. I think
the girl who played blanche surpassed the movie performance! for me
anyway. and I loved that movie. Michael was equally astounded and in
fact asked me to have her sign our program because we're both so sure
that she will become a
famous actress. the most incredible thing we found out is that this was
her first acting role ever! what a gifted child! the kids that played
Stanley and Stella were equally as great. I guess Blanche stood out
because her role
is so complex and her dialogue is very extensive. also the set was
phenomenal - very professional - a level of quality that the acting
surely lived up to. both Michael and I wanted to drag people there to
see this, to show them what high school kids are capable of (with Russ's
dedicated mentorship). please pass the word if you can.
With this lengthy praise, I sure hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
really looking forward to Tuesday too. miss you.
: - )