Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hey, Stella!

Half way through my teetotal week on antibiotics, for some reason Streetcar's Stanley Kowalski is much on my mind.

Hey, Stellllaaaa!!! Hey, Stellaaaa!!

Click on the image above to see Marlon Brando showing how to shout them up, old school. (Quicktime plug in required.)

I went to see The Peter Hall Company production of 'A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket in 1997. Jessica Lange as Blanche Dubois was the name on the marquee, but I especially remember Imogen Stubbs as Stella and Toby Stephens as Stanley.

Imogen Stubbs played the famous "there are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark--that sort of make everything else seem--unimportant" scene that takes place between Blanche and Stella in the morning after the "hey, Stellaaa!" episode in a really striking way.

In the film, Stella is resigned, as if, for all of Stanley's imperfections and their problems, and she thinks that she has to knuckle down and make the best of things. In this production she was almost light hearted, jumping onto the bed , laughing and feigning cringes as if her sister was warning her about a fairytale bogeyman rather than the real threat we saw the night before.

Toby Stephens, I particularly remember because - and this may seem an odd tribute to acting - when he came on for the curtain call at the end he was so completley different as himself to the morose, glowering character he had been portraying for the last couple of hours that it was difficult to credit that it was the same body walking onto the stage.

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