Einstein And A Streetcar Named DesireSunday, April 09, 2006
Taking my 8-year-old granddaughter Rebecca to the Saturday matinee performance of Ballet BC's A Streetcar Named Desire was a tough proposition. How do you explain the plot and sexual shenanigans? Luckily there were other things that kept her interest. Before the show I introduced her to percussionist Sal Ferreras, who in his perfect Puerto Rican Spanish, explained that you don't call a vibraphone a vibraharp. Tobin Stokes's score was a pleasure to listen to as was Bill Sample's piano. But for me the unifying symbol of the music was the recurring and beautifully reproduced sound of a passing streetcar complete with an Einsteinian change of pitch as the trolley recedes in distance. Sal Ferreras did this by striking a marine bell and then slowly dunking it into a bucket of water. The other unifying symbol was dancer Simone Orlando who plays Blanche DuBois with such class that you almost forget that she ends up at that house of ill repute, the Flamingo. For years I admired many of the female dancers of Ballet BC. I remember Crystal Pite's elegance, the classic Andrea Hodge, the one-of-a-kind Emily Molnar, the fragile redhead Lauri Stallings and recently, the erotic/passionate Sandrine Cassini. I just never really noticed Simone Orlando. Then on February 28, 2004 she came to my studio for photographs. Rebecca was there as my "assistant". We were both charmed but there was something more. I have not been able to take my eyes off Simone whenever she is on stage. A few months later, after a Ballet BC performance I sent Rebecca back stage. It seems that she was invited into Simone's changing room and she emerged with a used pair of Simone's pointe shoes. I believe that Rebecca must have slept with them that night. When we went to congratulate Simone after the performance, we found a barefoot Simone. Rebecca noticed. "Did you see Simone's feet, Papi?" As delicate as Simone is you can see how hard she works at it when you see her feet.
The trio in the photo, from left to right are: Donald Sales (Stanley) Tobin Stokes (the composer of the score) and Simone Orlando (Blanche).