4 The Daily Tar Heel Friday, September 23, 1977
Playmakers 'Streetcar' ride
sensual, compelling, effective
By PATRICIA GREEN
Now boarding at the Playmakers Theatre
a streetcar bound for a rough but
sensually compelling neighborhood. The
neigborhood lies in a New Orleans twilight
zone, a slice off a block of an American city
in the 40's, a neighborhood suspended
between the romantic glow of the South of
the past and the harsh neon needles of the
advancing twentieth century. The
Playmakers Repertory Company vehicle
that transports players and audience to the
nightmarish depths- of the American
subconscious is Tennessee Williams first
Pulitzer Prize winning play. Williams calls
this neighborhood "Elysian Fields." He
names the streetcar "Desire."
For this production of "A Streetcar
Named Desire," the Playmakers' set and
lighting designer, Larry Von Werssowetz,
has created a nightmarish pit, a filth-gilded
cage for the entrapment of an exotic
butterfly moth, the firefly of Williams' sad
ballad, Blanche DuBois.
This "relatively imperishable creature of
the stage" as Williams called Blanche, is
played by Ellen Barber. From the moment
she alights on stage. Miss Barber pirouettes
dangerously close to the edge of melodrama.
She almost overdoes the Mississippi accent,
the southern belle routine and the old maid
hystericism that are all a part of Blanche.
Fortunately, there are moments in this
production when Barber's stage experience
apparently causes her to stop and spin off on
a slightly different tack in her
characterization. And as a result of her
energy and intense immersion in her role,
"Streetcar" is Ellen Barber's triumph as
much as anyone's.
Blanche DuBois, like the hypnotized moth
in Virginia Woolfs poem, must eventually
beat herself to death in the flame of raw
passion the disastrous desire that is
ever irresistable and fatal to her. Miss
Barber seems to fully comprehend this,
although she could perhaps let us know these
things about her character with a bit more
subtlety. Still, the inner conflict, the stained
innocence, the frenetic grace that is Blanche
becomes a part of every move, inflection,
expression and gesture that Barber's
characterization entails. This actress and her
director , Bill Ludcl, understand Blanche
her sorrow and her sincerity her hysteria
and her final serenity. Together, director and
actress succeed in breathing life back into
this classic American character.
Perhaps one reason it seems easier to
relate to Blanche's dilemmas in this PRC
production than in others is the importance
given to the ins and outs of her relationship
with her sister, the simpler, more down-to-earth
Stella. Elaine Bromka plays Stella with
easy good humor and a warm, bluesy
earthiness that provides a much needed
subtlety in the production. Her technique is
well-researched and rehearsed; her
characterization was well received by the
audience. Bromka is obviously a
professional who understands the limits of
her role, yet will not be upstaged. Her
characterization is generally convincing.
Although her plantation accent is not always
consistent, throughout the production
Bromka works hard and contributes much
to the professionalism of this production.
Playing opposite Bromka is Michael
Medeiros as Stanley Kowalski. Medeiros
manages to come across as crude and
belligerent, but has difficulty in the few
moments that call for Stanley to be
One of the more humane and vulnerable
characters in the play is Mitch, played by Vic
Polizos, who joins the PRC after performing
with Liv Oilman in O'Neill's "Anna
Willi ' m i
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! ; y ' v ' it s
Stanley (Michael Medeiros), Blanche (Ellen Barber), and Stella (Elaine Bromka) in a
scene from Playmakers Repertory Company's production of Tennessee Williams' "A
Streetcar Named Desire."
Christie." Polizos turns in one of the most
convincing performances of the evening,
striking a nice balance between an affable,
bumbling gentleman caller and a wild-eyed,
trapped city creature. The scenes between
Ellen Barber and Vic Polizos take the most
arresting and are the most polished moments
of this production.
ACLU Freedom Fair tomorrow
"The most valuable basketball ever signed in
North Carolina" will go on the auction block
Saturday, Sept. 24 at the second annual American
Civil Liberties Union Freedom Fair in Chapel
Autographed after the UNC Alumni Basketball
Game Sept. 10. the ball carries the signatures of
present Tar Heel team members Phil Ford, Mike
O'Koren. Rich Yonakor and others; and former
UNC and professional stars Billy Cunningham,
Bob McAdoo. Charlie Scott, Larry Brown,
Walter Davis, York Larese and others.
The basketball is one of over 100 items and
services up for bids at the Saturday carnival,
auction and pig-pickin' dinner sponsored by the
ACLU at the Wesley Foundation and the
Newman Center, 214 and 218 Pittsboro St. in
Chapel Hill. The Red Clay Ramblers and the
UNC, Jugglers will be joined by the Durham
Pocket Theater to provide the day's
entertainment. Beginning at I p.m., the carnival
will feature games, booths, and a mini-"film
festival" for children.
Items at the auction at 2 p.m. will include
antiques, jewelry, pottery and prints plus
"services" ranging from tennis lessons and garden
tilling to a day's sail on a cabin cruiser berthed at
The Jugglers will begin their show at 1 p.m.. and
the Children's Film Festival gets underway at 2. A
special presentation of "If You Don't Like My
Ocean, Don't Fish In My Sea," will be offered by
the Durham Pocket Theatre at 7:30 p.m.
The Red Clay Ramblers will go on at 5 p.m.
when the lines form for the pig-pickin', beef pot
roast, vegetarian meals, tacos. egg rolls, soft
drinks, beer and dessert. Admission to the carnival
is SI for adults, 50 cents for children; dinners are
$3.50 for adults and $2 for children.
'Ask about our special low
I prices for imprinted and sewn 1
ishirts for teams, dorms and I
p Rally Begins
Hoods & zip hoods
All the latest
and you can't beat
our low prices!
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Saturday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
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