I See Award For Nicole Ari Parker In Street Car

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I’m convinced Nicole Ari Parker will receive an award for her performance. At one point her eyes were translucent, and looked like a ghost up there on the stage, lost in her own world.

[Helese TALKS! Theater]

I am so glad I went to go see "A Street Car Named Desire" staged for the first time with a multi-ethnic cast.

I was so overwhelmed when the play ended because I was just getting into the story. I think the ensemble of brown bodies on stage really lent more “soul” to every line of that story that could not have been present in the original; of which I have only seen clips.

It was interesting to me to realize that most people in the theatre that night were seeing the play and had at least read the book in high school, or had some vague recollection of the original film from 1951. Some even older folks may have seen the play when it originally opened on Broadway in 1947; but this isn’t a history lesson, it’s a review, or really, my opinion on one of the best friggin’ shows I’ve seen this year.

Well I guess you already have a basic idea of what I thought of the show. I love my YouTube gurus, and surprisingly there is a link between one named Osho and his speech on living like you were the first person on Earth, and my experience of the show. From this moment on, Nicole Ari Parker is my original Blanche DuBois, and I wouldn’t think of it in any other way. She is the first woman whom I have ever seen play this role. And play it she did; she really embodied the vintageness, haughtiness, femininity, and brokenness of the character. Best of all, she made her human, real, relatable. All of the other characters seemed a little bit small compared to her, in personality or aura, but not in impact.

Blair Underwood as Stanley was extremely believable, super sexy -- one woman gasped audibly when he tore his shirt off-- had incredible Black man swag and the appalling rape scene, which I saw coming but didn’t really see coming, was played so well that he made me hate all men for a few moments after.

He also really pulled off the moments of vulnerability, although you’d have to be as delicate as a spider web thread to notice it or you'd have missed it. The other main characters, Daphne Rubin-Vega (as Stella) and Wood Harris (as Mitch)  truly supported the stars of the show, and totally embodied what one would think people from back then would be like: they were quaint, not larger than life but slightly askew to our present reality.

The accents in themselves of all of the actors gave me chills. After seeing this show I’m convinced that a trip to New Orleans should be on every traveler’s list of places to visit. I’m also convinced that Nicole Ari Parker will receive an award for her performance. So gripping, some of it seemed like it was not just acting. At one point her eyes were translucent, and looked like a ghost up there on the stage, lost in her own world.

Wherever Blanche DuBois is, I think Ms. Parker truly channeled the spirit of that woman for a moment. And I took her with me, practicing the final line of the play about the “kindness of strangers” with my best N’awlins accent.

To support this show go to www.streetcaronbroadway.com 


Helese Smauldon, Columnist for The Black Star News

www.blackstarnews.com
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