If the production of La hija de Rappaccini thrived off of its isolation from the surrounding city, Street Scene did the opposite. The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1929 play by Elmer Rice was performed outside two Park Slope apartment buildings on Fifth Street this past Saturday: on the stoops, from the first-floor windows and the windows of the apartments above. And it was at its best when forced to interact with the real street: skateboarding teens, a handtruck-wheeling letter carrier, residents of the buildings who walked out in the middle of a scene. It gave it an unscriptable energy, something spontaneous and real, blurring the lines of where the fiction begins and thus deepening the emotional impact of its heroes’ lovesicknesses. Were it in contention today, I might not petition the Pulitzer committee to award this play its honor, but no production could ever feel truer to its spirit than the one that day in Brooklyn.
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