by Lorie Lewis Ham
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams opened this past weekend at Good Company Players 2nd Space Theatre in the Tower District of Fresno. It will be on stage there until April 17, and if you enjoy good drama this is a show you don’t want to miss.
The Glass Menagerie is a four-character memory play that premiered in 1944 and it was Tennessee Williams first successful play. It has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on Williams, his mother, and his sister Rose. Williams termed the phrase memory play and states within the play itself that memory is non-realistic and takes a lot of poetic license.Tom Wingfield, the character based on Williams, acts as a narrator at points. He is a young man dissatisfied with being forced to be the provider for his family because his father abandoned them. Tom wants more from life–he wants to be a writer and have adventure. His mother, Amanda, is quite the character. She’s demanding of both of her children, loves to talk about her life as a young Southern Belle, and can be very difficult–yet obviously loves her children. Laura, the daughter, is awkward and shy and has a physical defect that has left her with a limp. She has terrible social anxiety, spending most of her time at home focusing a lot of her attention on her glass figures, which her mother calls a glass menagerie. Mother is obsessed with getting Laura married as she sees no future for her otherwise.
Amelia Ryan is wonderful as the perfectly over the top Amanda. Steven Weatherbee as Tom makes us feel the frustration and struggle within that is tearing Tom apart. Patrick Regal makes his GCP debut in this show as the gentleman caller, Jim O’Connor, and beautifully portrays Jim’s mix of charm, ego, and fear of never being as successful in the real world as he was in high school. Alyssa Gaynor as Laura does a brilliant job of portraying this lovely, but emotionally damaged, young woman. Knowing people with social anxiety, I can tell you she plays the part to perfection. This talented cast brings these complex characters to life and takes us on an emotional journey.
Director J. Daniel Herring deserves major kudos for bringing the pieces all together perfectly for this show.
If you enjoy a good family drama, don’t miss The Glass Menagerie. It will take you on a ride of emotions from laughter, to anger, to tears. You can purchase tickets and find more info on the GCP website, and their KRL event page.
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