A Captive Moth

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blanchett-streetcar.jpgFor this out and proud actressexual (noun – a male, gay or straight, obsessed with larger-than-cinematic-life actresses, often seen performing in unforgettable, Oscar-worthy dramatic roles, respectfully co-opted from Nat Rogers of TheFilmExperience.net), some of my most memorable recent female images on film have come courtesy of the wonderful Cate Blanchett.  From the last scene of Elizabeth when she slowly, hypnotically walks towards the camera in Kabuki face, to that scene in The Talented Mr. Ripley when she is dreamily flitting around steamer trunks, to her somewhat overbaked, but always fascinating Academy Award-winning impersonation of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, I’ve always found her enthralling, and yes, larger than life, and quite possibly the best actress of her generation.  So when I heard that she was going to bring her acclaimed Sydney Theater Company (where she is co-Artistic Director with her husband, playwright Andrew Upton) production of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by the legendary actress Liv Ullmann to the US, but only to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York, I was off hunting for tickets faster than Russell Crowe can throw a phone at a hotel clerk.  Cate Blanchett, Tennessee Williams, Liv Ullmann – man, I was as breathless as if I was wearing three layers of male spanx! Swoon!  But the swooning is highly deserved, since after seeing the production during its DC stop last weekend, I’m pretty certain that theater lovers everywhere, actressexual or not, will find this unforgivingly stark Streetcar and Blanchett’s harrowing, vanity-less, indelible performance, that rare night in the theater that they can proudly and vividly recount to their children and grandchildren for years.

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