It’s not often that an actor gets to play a legendary leading role like Stanley Kowalski from A Streetcar Named Desire. Matt Andrade gets to do it twice—and with the same director, no less. Salomé Martinez directed Andrade more than a decade ago, and they’re teaming up again for Teatro Nuevo México’s production of Streetcar at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW), Sept. 29 and 30, and Oct. 1 and 2.
“Salomé was a teacher of mine in high school, at Highland,” Andrade says. Around 13 years ago, Martinez chose to produce Streetcar at the school. “I was kind of naive to whole thing,” Andrade says. “Like, Oh yeah, this Tennessee Williams guy, he sounds cool, whatever.” Martinez cast him in the role of Stanley. Andrade admits he was too young to really carry it off, but, of course, any high schooler would be.
“I knew the movie and knew Marlon Brando was famous for it, and I was like, Yeah, sounds fun, let’s do it. I can smash plates.” Through the process, he says he ended up learning a lot about Williams and acting in general.
Andrade lives in Los Angeles now, and he says he and Martinez maintained a bond. When she called and asked him to audition for the role this time around, he didn’t think twice. “I read the script now, I see a lot of different things,” Andrade says. “I really emotionally understand a lot more, like about sexual relationships between men and women, and growing up in a hard, working-class kind of place.” His challenge is finding all the nuances and layers to Stanley. He says he has to be abusive, cool and attractive all at once. Because the set design is similar to the one on which he played 13 years ago, Andrade says he’s comfortable moving around in Stanley’s New Orleans apartment. Except this time, he’ll be a bigger man. For tickets and times, see nhccnm.org.