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The Glass Menagerie

a Play
CATEGORY :
by Tennessee Williams

COMPANY : ART Station Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : ART Station Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 336

SHOWING : October 03, 2001 - October 28, 2001

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

ART Station is pleased to produce this Southern classic. Tennessee Williams first masterpiece, this drama of great tenderness, charm and beauty is one of the most famous plays of the modern theatre and is as pertinent today as it was when it was originally written.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director David Thomas
Stage Manager John Goldstein
Set and Light Design Michael Hidalgo
ASM/props Rita Ann Marcec
Amanda Jane Bushway
Laura Barbara Cole Uterhardt
Gentleman Caller Adam Fristoe
Tom Daniel May
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Of Unicorns and Others
by Mama Alma
Tuesday, October 23, 2001
5.0
In the interest of full disclosure, I am related to someone associated with this production, I adore Tennessee Williams, and I think the director, Dave Thomas, is the most excellent interpreter of his work. Having said all that, I approached this staging with a certain amount of trepidation as Push Push did a standout production this past year with the fabulous Carol Mitchell Leon as Amanda. I needn't have worried.

While Push Push's production opened the play up, performing it in the round, Dave Thomas returns to a more classic interpretation of the play. Tom Wingfield, as played by the wonderful Daniel May (who may arguably be Atlanta's best young male actor) is the still voice deconstructing for us the struggles of his dysfunctional family. His quiet narration becomes the glass through which we view the ultimate shattering of his sister Laura. I once heard the great Anthony Hopkins say that the older he got, the more he realized that he was at his best when he was "more still," and May has got it down. It is a great compliment to him that his finest moment on stage comes when the focus is on someone else. Only by seeing the play several times could I appreciate his amazing performance, so generous is he with other actors, so effortless is his performance.

Jane Bushway as Amanda Wingfield is incredible. I've always thought this must be a thankless part, the controlling mother. During one performance a lady sitting next to me, muttered under her breath, "well, she's just too bossy!" But Ms. Bushway endows Amanda with just enough human sympathy that you care about her. You empathize with her efforts to "get her family ahead." Every parent who has ever tried to encourage a child to be less afraid, try harder, prepare for the future . . . you get the idea. She says at one point that her concern has made her a monster to her children. Maybe, but we all recognize ourselves. It would be so easy to go over the top with Amanda, and I've seen it done that way, but Ms. Bushway hits just the right tone.

Adam Fristoe plays the gentleman caller with flair and good willed abandon. He provides a glimpse into the real world, and, as Tom says, since he is an emissary from the real world, he is more real. Not just a gum popping, Dale Carnegie kind of guy bent on self improvement, Fristoe's caller is an appropriately Gentle Man, a promising candidate for the key to unlock Laura's dreams.

Because the lynchpin of this drama, of course, is Laura, the owner of the glass menagerie. A shy "home girl," in her own environment Laura can cope. She'd like nothing better than to "be like all the others." But she knows she's different, and because she's so fearful of putting herself on display, she is crippled both physically and spiritually. Laura is good at hiding her fragility, and with the impetus of the handsome gentleman caller she takes the first tentative steps out of her self imposed jewel box. Yet in the final analysis, though glass can catch and flash back the fire, it "breaks if you breathe on it." Barbara Cole navigates this complexity nicely, moving from whispering timidity to innocent wonder to heartbreak. It's her best work yet, but that's no surprise. It's not the first time Dave Thomas has directed her in a Williams play.

The last image in the play is a haunting one, one of those time stopping, breath holding moments you'll play back in your memory (this IS a memory play) again and again. Classics have a lot to give that's why they're classics. Go see "The Glass Menagerie" and get the classic treatment.
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