A New Take on Streetcar

Exploring a Tennessee Williams classic through a multicultural lens.

Photo by Peter Vitale
Austene Van

Ten Thousand Things’ production of A Streetcar Named Desire is a radical reinterpretation of the Tennessee Williams play. It eliminates all but four of the characters and casts Blanche and Stella as African Americans (Austene Van and Elizabeth Grullon), Stanley as a European American (Kris L. Nelson), and Mitch as a Korean American (Kurt Kwan).

“This is a different take on Williams,” says director Randy Reyes. “I want to bring out the universal themes in the play, shine a light on it through the lens of a different culture.”

The production will not alter the play, other than cutting it. Reyes acknowledges certain dissonances between the text and the casting. For instance, the scene when Blanche is describing her life on a plantation could raise some eyebrows. “Lines might ring false for a second, but they’re small things. If the audience is invested in the characters, they’ll follow,” the director insists.

Still, Reyes admits that he’s not quite sure how people will react to his interpretation. “It’s a social, cultural, and theatrical experiment,” he says. “This is not how you expect Williams to be. I’m excited about it.” May 3–26. Various locations, 612-203-9502,