A Streetcar Named Desire — The Scottish Ballet

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 4.48.11 PMNot many full-length classical ballets include the movie-type disclaimer “Recommended for mature audiences.” However, the new, original Scottish Ballet, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” may ignite a movement. It is truly as STV.tv reviewed “gritty and at times shocking.” It is also achingly beautiful, elegantly danced and pure Southern tragedy, just as Tennessee Williams’ pen inked it. While this production has played the British Isles, the Scottish Ballet chose New Orleans for its North American premiere; fittingly, don’t you think? The company paired award-winning theater and film director Nancy Mechler (Royal Shakespeare Company) with internationally acclaimed choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (both in New Orleans for this premiere), who took license to rearrange the sequencing of the story into chronological order.

The curtain rises on a young Blanche and younger Stella and family at Belle Rive, and follows them through the rise and fall of family fortunes and their own fates. This works well because, as hard as it is to admit if you live here, some educated people have never seen or read “Streetcar.” Most VDPers, however, will undoubtedly know the basic storyline, but if your memory tends toward the 1951 sterilized movie version, there is an “oh….right” in store during the tension-heavy but spectacular pas de trois among Blanche, her new groom, and his best man lover. This is of course what sets Blanche “off course” and sends her off packing to live with married sis, Stella, and wife-beater-fashion-shirt icon, Stanley. And yes, SPOILER ALERT…he does get to yell, STELLA! Professional, graceful on point, full of variety to suit each scene, with a stunningly clever set, this is a ballet to watch for. After curtain, I ended up with the cocktail group that included the Scots, and “scouts” from the Houston Ballet and the Joyce. They were being hosted by the New Orleans Ballet association, glowing in its premiere coup. Sadly, only I ordered a single malt.

Barbara Motley

One Response to “A Streetcar Named Desire — The Scottish Ballet”

  1. Barbara,
    I am so glad you wrote this review of the ballet. I also saw it and was amazed. I was not sure how a Scottish company would handle such an iconic play. As you mentioned, the music, choreography, and dancing were superb. The set was also a masterpiece, I thought, with the movement of critical elements that allowed the audience to be even more pulled into the play.

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