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“Haven’t you ever ridden on that streetcar?” Stella asks Blanche. She means little-d “desire,” those “things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark.” But Blanche deliberately misunderstands her sister: “It brought me here, where I’m not wanted,” she replies, meaning big-D “Desire,” the streetcar that took her to Cemeteries on her way to Elysian Fields. (Oh, Tennessee, you and your sex-and-death obsessions; we do love you for it.) Streetcar, of course, is always grinding away in the dark somewhere; this fall it’s bringing Cate Blanchett to town, and as you might imagine, the Australian-born actress’s take on Williams’ black-widow heroine is very much wanted up here in the Northern Hemisphere. (Pity your New York theater-lover friends: They’ll have to wait until after the show’s D.C. run to catch it at BAM.) Lost in the anticipation about the Oscar winner’s ride on the lust train is this delightful casting tidbit: Blanchett’s hunky nemesis Stanley Kowalski will be played by Aussie actor Joel Edgerton. (Yup, that’ll be Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen yelling “Stella.”) Bergmann muse Liv Ullman directs the production, and given the streetcars she’s ridden, the director of Faithless ought to be able to find a few eye-opening resonances in these scenes from an ill-fated marriage.
The play runs Oct. 29 to Nov. 21 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $25–$110. (202) 467-4600.