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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Streetcar’ plot still edgy, even for modern audience

Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” is generally considered one of the greatest pieces of theater ever written, a tragic tale of two wayward sisters and the brutish man who comes between them. You might think a show that premiered on Broadway way back in 1947 would be antiquated and prudish, but “Streetcar,” which opens at Spokane Civic Theatre on Friday, remains shockingly contemporary.

Family’s quiet suffering is laid out

Tennessee Williams is best known for his wild, unapologetic theatrics, from images of unhinged Southern belles and shouted proclamations of romance to themes of sweaty desperation and sexual inhibition. But the play that first brought Williams to prominence was 1944’s “The Glass Menagerie,” a modest character study that is, for the most part, as quiet and delicate as the glass figures that serve as its central metaphor. Now playing at the newly christened Modern Theater Spokane (formerly Interplayers), “Menagerie” focuses on three damaged characters who are cramped together in close quarters and yet remain separated by a vast emotional gulf. The play springs from the memories of Tom Wingfield, who lives with his mother Amanda and his physically weak older sister Laura.