The Paw Print
The artistic talent, reputation and impact of the Adams State theater department are well established and continue to grow with each passing season. The array of themes that the theater department has successfully tackled has proved their dedication to their craft and has allowed the department to win multiple state acting competitions in the last seven years. This year’s inaugural play, A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is further proof of the continuous growth of theater not only in Adams State but in the community as well.
Connecting the storyline of William’s play with the larger community in a way the causes the audience to not only reflect on the central issues presented within the play, but to act on those issues is the goal of this play, according to Dr. Paul S. Newman director and chair of the theater department. The central theme of the play analyzes the vicious cycle of domestic abuse and patriarchy, which is more often than not, ignored by the general society.
In order to link the substance of the play with real life situations, the theater department teamed up with Tu Casa Inc., an organization founded in 1979 to support and protect the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and hate crimes. Pioneers in their field, Tu Casa are the sole provider of free, confidential and comprehensive services in the entire San Luis Valley. Fundraising and increasing community awareness of abuse towards women, were the main goals of Tu Casa’s partnership with the theater department.
Engaging the audience with the themes of the play and how those themes imitated life is a central goal of the production, “the theater department believes that partnerships with community organizations such as Tu Casa, helps bring support to these organizations while at the same time conveying in a deeper sense, the key issues within the plays themselves,” said Newman.
Student actors within the play performed passionately, and according to Newman, who has 20 years of theater experience, “it was one of the best performances” he had witnessed in a while, “the entire cast was equally talented, especially the leading role of Blanche DuBois, played by student Katie Fuleki who flawlessly carried the show.”
Set in a working class neighborhood of New Orleans in 1947, the play speaks to the desires of a generation trying to understand who they are after a long and taxing war. The characters demonstrate the struggle of starting over while desperately holding on to their past which seems to haunt them more and more as the play progresses.
Given the nature of the play, dealing with sensitive issues such as domestic violence put the main protagonists in tense situations that depicted the brutality and heart break that domestic violence can cause. At the climax, the main character Stanley Kowalski played by student Mason Miller forced himself upon Blanche DuBois in a forceful rape scene which demonstrated the real terror and powerlessness that the victim must feel. “You just have to let go and forget yourself, or you will go crazy, because I would never do something like that, you have to become the character,” said Miller.
Because of the manner in which community members of different interests and economic levels have found a home in the theater department over the years, the department is expanding its range of productions to facilitate a wide array of thought provoking entertainment. This season, students, staff and community members will be able to enjoy four coming attractions that touch on human rights issues, justice, comedy and love.