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Belmont students show off acting chops in new play

A Streetcar Named Desire hits the stage next week
Iris Segall-Listes plays Blanche DuBois and Ben Armstrong plays Mitch in Belmont Secondary school’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire, which hits the stage next week. (Contributed photo)

A play that delves into dysfunction, truth, power and gender are coming to Belmont Secondary school next week.

As part of the spring production, Theatre on the Edge is putting its version of A Streetcar Named Desire beginning May 22.

Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, the renowned drama follows troubled former school teacher Blanche DuBois as she leaves small-town Mississippi and moves in with her sister, Stella Kowalski and her husband, Stanley, in New Orleans.

Blanche’s flirtatious presence causes problems for Stella and Stanley, who already have a volatile relationship, leading to even greater conflict in the household.

Originally performed on Broadway in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, it was turned into a film starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh in 1951.

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“It’s a big piece. While some people may not know it, I think it’s going to be a good educational piece for the school … Tennessee Williams is one of the big playwrights of the 20th century,” said director Sean Cowie, noting this is one of the most challenging plays the school has put on.

“There’s a complexity to this play. It’s a demanding play. It’s demanding in the sense that it’s full of irony, it’s full of multiple meanings. But there’s a beauty to it. It’s about relationships, identity, dysfunction, truth, power and gender … It’s a unique high school production.”

While the play only has a cast of four lead roles Blanche (Iris Segall-Listes), Mitch (Ben Armstrong), Stanley Kowalski, (Derek Peachey) and Stella (Bhreagh Juurlink) and two minor roles, Cowie said the complexity of the characters show off the diversity, talent and range that Belmont students have to offer.

Juurlink, a Grade 11 student, said it’s been a welcomed challenge taking on one of the lead roles in the play since rehearsals began in February.

“I’m excited to see it all come together with the lights, with the sounds, with people watching and seeing what you’ve been doing after school for the past three months,” she said.

“I want people to take away an interest in everything that’s happening in the community we’re trying to build here [at Belmont].”

A Streetcar Named Desire runs May 22 to 25 at 7 p.m. at the school (3041 Langford Lake Rd.)

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, and are available at the office.

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