Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Glass Menagerie, Tex-Arts, Lakeway, February 26 - March 14

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The Glass Menagerie
is a memory play, narrator Tom Wingfield tells us in his opening soliloquy. Director Michael Costello and the gifted actors in this cast treat it as just that, a dream-like sequence of deeply felt events taking place in the shadowed, intimate space of Tex-Arts' Kam and James Morris Theatre out in Lakeway.

For those who don't know or have forgotten this American classic: it's the late 1930s. A mother and her two grown children live in a rented apartment in St. Louis, barely getting by. The son Tom pays the bills with the wages from his menial job in a warehouse; his handicapped younger sister Laura, turning ever inward, has dropped out of secretarial school and devotes herself to her collection of glass animals, the glass menagerie of the title. Their father disappeared long ago -- a telephone man "in love with long distances." Their mother Amanda Wingfield, a faded southern belle, is searching for some way to secure the family's uncertain future.

This 1944 two-act play was Tennessee Williams' first stage success. It has lived over the many years since then because Williams captured with his simple story and quiet imagery the fragility of hope and the enduring call of memory.

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