A woman arrives at an institution claiming to be Blanche DuBois, and there she meets disparate inmates that evoke shadow characters in Tennessee William’s play and people from his life. The setting is the 'Louisiana Retreat', a New Orleans institution where Blanche could have been taken. Secrets are unlocked, questions answered, but all is not as it seems for the woman who thinks she is Blanche is not, but rather a Blanche of today emerging from the abandoned post-Katrina landscape of New Orleans and the cities, such as Detroit, where survivors were scattered.
A scene from Neri's play was presented on Nov 8, 2008 at a 555 Gallery Studio Fundraiser event "555 Bailout" www.555arts.org. Script development was engaged in at the LA Womens' Theater Project autumn 2009. Neri's play "Unlocking Desire" was read on March 16, 2010, at the Planet Ant Theater in Hamtramk, MI. "Unlocking Desire" was also read as part of the Renegade Theater Festival in Lansing MI, August 19 & 20. Details for the 2010 Renegade Festival can be found here: Renegade 2010. Scroll down here to Read Tom Helma's review."Unlocking Desire" was read January 31, 2011 by The New Theater Project at 'MIX' in Ypsilanti, MI. Thanks to all these fine organizations!
UNLOCKING DESIRE was produced in a multimedia, site specific, world premiere production in the heart of Detroit at the Marlene Boll Theater located in the downtown YMCA at 1401 Broadway. Nine performances (September 23 through October 8, 2011) were produced by KHOROS Inc. a non-profit Michigan arts organization founded in 1982. The production was Artistic Directed by Barbara Neri, Directed by John Jakary, Scenic Design by Elisa Limberg of Berlin, Germany, lighting Design by Dave Early, Costume Design Jomarie Soszynski and projections of original photography, video and New Orleans archival images edited by Alivia Zivich. The production featured Detroit Metro’s finest actors – Linda Rabin Hammell, Kenny Kono, J Michael Morgan, Eric Niece, Sean Paraventi, Yolanda Perez, Madelyn Porter, Sean Rodriguez, Kristen Wagner and Krista Schafer.
2011 marked the 100th birthday of Tennessee Williams - our poet of the American Theater. And though not written with his centenary in mind, Neri's Unlocking Desire was a fascinating homage to him.
Listen to the podcast from: Encore LIVE! - Unlocking the secrets behind 'Unlocking Desire'
Read John Quinn's review: Unlocking the past; unlocking the future
Hear the WDET interview with Rob St Mary. Learn about D/NOLA: Local Artist is 'Unlocking Desire' to build Detroit-New Orleans Connection
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Image #1- New Orleans above ground cemetery St Louis # 1. Video and stills taken in New Orleans will be part of the multimedia Detroit prodution of Barbara Neri's "Unlocking Desire" Photo Ralph Neri
Image #2 - Postcard front for "Unlocking Desire" using New Orleans street sign with graffiti. Photo Ralph Neri, card design Alivia Zivich.
Image #3 - Elisa Limberg, scenic designer from Berlin Germany and resident artist at Detroit's 555 Gallery, created the site specific set design for Barbara Neri's "Unlocking Desire."
Image #4 - Sean Rodriguez as Hank and Linda Rabin Hammell as Blanche from Barbara Neri's play "Unlocking Desire" on Dubois St. in Detroit. See the entire slide show of images at unlockingdeisre.com
Image #5 - Cast for "Unlocking Desire" outside of Detroit's 555 Gallery where they are rehearsing. Back Row L to R – Sean Rodriguez, Kenny Kono, Madelyn Porter, Sean Paraventi, J. Michael Morgan and Krista Schafer. Front L to R: Linda Rabin Hammell, Eric Niece, Kristen Wagner and Yolanda Perez. Photo: Ralph Neri
Image #6 - Blanche (Linda Rabin Hammell) and Hank (Sean Rodriguez) from "Unlocking Desire" on Belle Isle. Neri's play evokes characters from Tennessee Williams' masterpiece "A Streetcar Named Desire." The play runs for nine performances at the Marlene Boll Theater September 23 through October 8. See the entire slide show of Detroit images at unlockingdesire.com Photo: Charles Toeppe.
Below is a slide show of images taken in Detroit that serve as both an epilogue and prologue to Neri's play UNLOCKING DESIRE. Read more about what inspired it here.