Theatre: The Glass Menagerie

Written by arguably the greatest American playwright, The Glass Menagerie is a breathtaking “memory play.” Related by Tom, this is the story of the family he loves so dearly, but from whom he so desperately wants to escape. Williams wrote this as a semi-autobiographical play about the regrets he had in leaving his own family to pursue his dreams.

 

Set in 1937 in the middle of the Great Depression, The Glass Menagerie paints the picture of the Wingfield family. Amanda (Professor Camille Hallstrom), Tom’s mother, was raised as a southern belle. Though she may cling to them, the traditions of her past have very little place in 1930’s St. Louis. And while she loves her children, Tom (Freshman David Kraus) and Laura (Senior Abigail DeGraaf), very dearly, she is smothering them. Because of her husband’s desertion when her children were very young, Amanda constantly worries about her family’s future. Amanda must take actions into her own hands, since Laura is uncontrollably shy with seemingly no aspirations and Tom is constantly avoiding his responsibilities. Much of the play’s action revolves around Amanda’s attempts to get Tom’s help in securing a future for Laura by way of a gentleman caller, a man to step into Laura’s life and ultimately marry her.

 

In an interview with David, he spoke a bit about what he is looking to accomplish with his portrayal of Tom: “I want the audience to like Tom, but I don't think Tennessee Williams, especially when he wrote the play, wanted you to come away from this play thinking that Tom is the greatest. But he's sort of a typical representation, I think, of humanity, because he's chained to a kind of broken, absurd world that he can't really escape from. And he knows that he wants something more for his life, but he doesn't know where to get it, he just knows that he can't get it in his cramped, St. Louis apartment or in the warehouse, making shoes. So, by the end of the play it would be perfectly normal to see him as both humanly heroic and also tragically asinine.”

 

Director, Matthew Mindeman, when asked why he decided to produce this play said, “I’ve loved Tennesee Williams since high school, especially The Glass Menagerie. And even though these characters’ situations are much different than mine, probably most of ours, I feel a great connection to them. There is something universal about what Williams has written here that speaks into who we are as people. How we love, how we dream. This makes the play not only a joy to watch but also profoundly thought- provoking.”

 

The Glass Menagerie plays April 7, 8, and 21 at 8:00 pm and 22 at 2:30 pm in the Sanderson Hall auditorium on the Covenant College campus. On the 21st, we have the pleasure of seeing Junior Sammie Brown and Sophomore Maya Pirschel perform as Amanda and Laura respectively as understudies in the place of Professor Hallstrom and Abigail DeGraaf. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors, faculty, and staff. Patrons can also attend the final dress rehearsal on April 6 at 8:00 pm with $5 tickets for adults and $3 for seniors, faculty, and staff. Student admission is free for each show. To reserve tickets or for more information, contact the box office at 706-419-1051 or boxoffice@covenant.edu.