Rapture Theatre

Lyn McAndrew, co-srtistic director for Rapture theatre recently held a workshop with a local community theatre group at Birnam. 

The workshop comprised of a series of physical and vocal exercises to help the participants prep for their annual panotomime rehearsals. 

These photos show some of the participants being taken through their paces. 

Today The Herald published our response to Brian Beacom’s column ('It’s hard to see Stanley Kowalski as anything but white', The Herald, August 31). The unabridged letter is below:

We are writing in response to Brian Beacom’s opinion piece on Rapture Theatre’s current production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, which was published in The Herald, on 31st August.

Despite writing prior to viewing the actual show, and with absolutely no knowledge of our company’s creative approach, Mr Beacom decided to make several assumptions about our artistic decisions which are both inaccurate and unacceptable to us.

Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski just might be the most contrasting characters found in modern drama. Practically every aspect about them is a polar opposite, from their gender and background to their outlook towards life.

While every production takes a different approach to these two fascinating characters, playwright Tennessee Williams wanted Blanche and Stanley to be evenly matched, having ‘a balance of power’. The richness of A Streetcar Named Desire’s text is found not necessarily within the plot but within the power struggle between these two icons of modern theatre.

We asked a school pupil 'Who’s your favourite character in Streetcar?'. Here is what they said:

My favourite character is Mitch because I think he gets a bit of a raw deal in the play and I can’t help feeling sorry for him.

Mitch is a decent human being who is constantly trying to please his mother and is accused by Stanley of being a mummy’s boy because of it.  He maybe resents his mum because he’s been away in the army and travelled a lot, but now he’s stuck at home looking after her. If he does resent her though, he doesn’t really show it. He just does it because it’s his duty which makes me like him because he cares enough to put his own feelings to one side.

Michael Cox: What was your first experience with Streetcar?

Gina Isaac: It was watching the Elia Kazan film. I'm a huge Brando fan and absolutely loved the film when I first saw it about 20 years ago. It's an amazing film, and Brando and Vivien Leigh work so well together - the old style meeting the new. I've only ever seen one theatre production of
Streetcar, with a wonderful actress, Geraldine Alexander, playing Blanche. Years later I had the pleasure of working with her on the national tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. It was a lovely thing to be able to tell her that I'd seen her play Blanche.

MC: Let’s talk a little more about Blanche. When was the first time you thought of her as a viable character for yourself?

GI: I don't know really. There are always parts that you'd love to play as an actress, and of course Blanche Dubois is definitely 'up there' in terms of the biggies, but it wasn't a part that I felt I had to play. Once I started preparing for the audition though I became totally gripped by her. It's a great feeling when you read a part and something about them speaks to you. I guess that's when I realised I would love the chance to try and play her! Funnily enough, I have been watching a lot of southern and classic films as part of my research, and
Gone with the Wind (also starring Vivien Leigh) was the film that really 'clicked' for the concept of the 'Southern Belle'. It completely captures the old world of white privilege and vast plantations, the world from which both Blanche and Stella descend.

A Streetcar Named Desire is often regarded as amongst the finest plays of the 20th century, if not of all time, and it is considered by many to be playwright Tennessee Williams' greatest. It is also one of those rare ‘Before/After’ events: the theatre world drastically changed after the play opened on Broadway.

In 1947, the year of Streetcar’s premiere, Broadway was mostly made up of comedies, revivals of classic texts and musicals. The rule of thumb was that audiences wanted to be entertained with flimsy plots and catchy tunes. Streetcar not only challenged that notion but also presented an original experience: a poetic script that teetered between the realistic and the symbolic.

It won numerous prestigious awards, including the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and the Pulitzer. Two years later, in 1949, Lawrence Olivier directed the UK premiere in London in a production that thrilled and challenged audiences and critics alike.

Michael Cox speaks with Rapture Theatre’s Michael Emans about their latest production: A Streetcar Named Desire:

Michael Cox: A Streetcar Named Desire is stooped in its New Orleans setting and post-WWII era. Do you think this might be a problem for a modern Scottish audience?

Michael Emans: I think that, although it’s very much set in its time, its themes and its characters and its ideas really resonate an awful lot today, with themes of mental health, with immigration, with race, with cultures, with even human relationships and gender roles. There’s just so much in it that I think it will chime with an audience today. I hope audiences don’t see it as a museum piece—I don’t think they will.

Streetcar Ed Resource Web

Book a Workshop!

A Streetcar Namend Desire

Script analysis with director Michael Emans.

By attending the workshop, your students will be able to have an in-depth look at how a director takes a script and makes it into a performance. What clues do you look for? How do you treat dialogue and stage directions? How important is style?

Emans will look at moments within the play and not only explain the process he went through from reading the script to finding the right actors to opening night, but will also show students how they can take scripts and turn them into dramatic action.

Suitable for pupils studying Higher and Advance Higher Drama or English.

Download our accompanying Education Resource (attachement file at the bottom of this page). 

TO BOOK A WORKSHOP OR FOR FURTHER INFORMATION - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

July marked the completion of another successful “Drama Matrix”, the fun summer course in Perthshire, tutored by Rapture’s Artistic Directors.  This year students enjoyed the enormous challenge of workshopping a wide variety of exciting play extracts - from Pinter and Albee to Byrne and Miller - while Margaret Milne choreographed two outstanding dance pieces.

One of the overriding themes of the course this year was movement:  students worked very hard with absolute commitment and, on the last night, brilliantly performed a stunning, abridged version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in masques, based on movement influenced by the teachings of Jaques Lecoq – the famous French physical theatre guru.

One of the many, many highlights of the course was the workshopped extract from Rapture’s latest production A Streetcar named Desire (which opens in September and tours around Scotland until mid-October).  Everyone wanted to know who the cast was going to be in the actual show – well guys, wait no more.  The news is out! See our Facebook or Twitter pages for the latest!

Thanks again for being your brilliant selves. Looking forward to next year!

Can’t wait to meet up with you all somewhere on the tour!!!

Lyn  x

Experience the excitement of live theatre in Rapture's vibrant production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.

Join us for a dazzling trip to the whirlwind world of New Orleans with this sultry and sophisticated new production of a timeless American masterpiece. Fading southern belle, Blanche DuBois, seeks solace with her sister, Stella, after her world starts to crumble. But her downward spiral brings her face-to-face with Stella’s husband, the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski. As temperatures soar and passions rise, Blanche and Stanley battle for Stella’s soul.

Immortalised in the Oscar-winning film starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, this is a rare opportunity to see this iconic play, thrillingly brought to life by Rapture.

Streetcar follows in the wake of Rapture's popular and critically acclaimed productions of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Democracy

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