VST Opens Season with ‘Streetcar’


Vincent Mocco and Kate Koster (COURTESY OF VST)

Alison Nieto Staff Writer

Villanova Student Theater opened its fall production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” a classic play by Tennessee Williams to a full house Nov. 14.

VST did a wonderful job of bringing the classic to life. Audiences were left emotionally drained after witnessing the complex relationship between Blanche DuBois (Grace McDermott ‘19), her sister Stella (Kate Koster ‘20) and her sister’s husband Stanley Kowolski (Vincent Mocco ‘19). “A Streetcar Named Desire” follows the descent into madness of a woman dealing with trauma who crumbles under the intense socio-economic pressures of late 1940s New Orleans. 

After losing the family home in Belle Reve, Blanche moves into her sister’s New Orleans apartment, immediately causing tension between herself and Stanley. The performances were incredibly moving. In Act One, the audience is privy to Stanley’s abusive nature and Stella’s daily life. A testament to the actors’ dedication, when Stanley began hitting Stella, an entire row of people in the back stood up. The audience was so on board with the scene that they gave a physical reaction to the fictional events taking place onstage.

By intermission, patrons were emotionally drained but too invested in the show to leave. McDermott’s portrayal of Blanche’s descent into madness is compelling and never once branched into being absurd or unbelievable. The audience believed that Blanche couldn’t help but act the way she was, lie compulsively or be as materialistic as she was. It was just who Blanche was in the circumstances and you felt bad for her rather than annoyed. 

Additionally, Koster’s play on Stella’s relationship with Stanley is heartbreaking, because the audience knows she deserves so much better than Stanley, and yet she refuses to recognize the problems within their relationship. The directing duo of Liz Marafino Fiola and John Garvey did a fantastic job of staging the production in a way that drew the audience into the world of the Kowolskis.  VST’s next production will be “Arsenic and Old Lace.”