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Steering Streetcar in a different direction

Updated: 2012-12-07 14:14
By Zhang Kun in Shanghai ( China Daily)

In his new theater adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, Liu Liang-yen has not only turned it into a musical and changed the setting to contemporary Asia but also has eliminated Stanley Kowalski's role.

The Taiwan director's pioneering adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play premiered in Taipei on Dec 5 and will be staged at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center from Jan 17-Feb 17.Steering Streetcar in a different direction

The 1947 play by American playwright Tennessee Williams tells about a woman who's past her prime time taking shelter with her sister's family. But she loses her sanity after her brother-in-law abuses and rapes her.

It has been recognized as a modern classic, and the movie adaptation, starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, has reinvigorated its allure since the 1990s.

"You can't find in Asian culture the equivalent role of Stanley, who's attractive yet destructive, and charming yet threatening," the director says.

Liu decided to focus on the entanglement between the sisters - Blanche, the dishonored woman seeking refuge in her sister's home - and Stella - the younger sister who's building her life and expecting a baby with her husband Stanley in a new environment.

Blanche is a troubled soul, a misfit, whose background is colored by scandals and a husband who committed suicide. Stella has left behind her family history and started afresh in a new city.

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