The Glass Menagerie
The Glass Menagerie is the play that launched Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams’ career and is among the masterworks of the American stage. Drawn from Williams’ life, this moving play explores the illusory nature of dreams and the fragility of hope. Abandoned by the father of her children, Amanda is obsessed with finding a suitor for her shy and vulnerable daughter, Laura. Tom, the restless and sensitive son who narrates the story, eases his frustrations with nighttime escapes “to the movies.” At Amanda’s urgings, Tom asks a co-worker to dinner. Can this “gentleman caller” offer any light to these bruised souls clinging to the tattered edges of lost dreams and faded hopes?
The Glass Menagerie performs April 2 – April 27 in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex. It is recommended for ages 13 and up. Tickets can be purchased online at www.SyracuseStage.org, by phone at 315-443-3275, or in person at the Syracuse Stage Box Office at 820 East Genesee Street. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at 315-443-9844.
Pre-and post-show events during the run of The Glass Menagerie include the Opening Night Party on April 4 with live music by jazz pianist Ronnie Leigh; Prologues (moderated discussions with actors) on April 6, 12, and 17; Happy Hour on April 10 featuring wine glass painting with Lydia Design/Johnson Camera; an Actor Talkback following the 7 p.m. show on April 13; and Wednesday @ 1 Lecture on April 23 featuring William Morris (theatre instructor at Le Moyne College). These events are free for ticket holders. Visit Syracuse Stage website for more information.
On Saturday, April 26, a special event called Poetry and a Play will feature poems by Emily Dickinson, with Joan Sauro (Performer/Reader). Tickets are $30 and include both a poetry presentation and a matinee performance of The Glass Menagerie. Reservations for individuals can be made online. Reservations for groups of 10 or more can be made by calling 315-443-9844.
In the Syracuse Stage lobby, throughout the run of The Glass Menagerie, patrons can view an exhibit presented by Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park. The exhibit features works by 12 local photographers, winners from this year’s “9th Annual Winter at the Zoo Photo Contest,” an event that Syracuse Stage sponsored.
Tennessee Williams is widely considered the greatest Southern playwright and one of the greatest playwrights in the history of American drama. Celebrated for tackling tough, taboo subjects, Williams’ plays have been a mainstay at Syracuse Stage. Past productions include A Streetcar Named Desire (1977, 2001), The Glass Menagerie (1979, 1999), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1982), The Rose Tattoo (1989), and Moony’s Kid Don’t Cry/Something Unspoken/I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow (1995).
“With The Glass Menagerie especially, Williams pushed the American theatre in a new and less realistic direction,” notes Timothy Bond, director and producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage. “His [Williams’] original vision for the play called for projections of words and images, elements rarely if ever used in productions of the play, and for the use of music. For this production, I’ve embraced and have been inspired by Williams’ original vision.”
Williams coined the term “memory play” to describe The Glass Menagerie as “dimly lighted, sentimental and not realistic.” For Williams, this allowed for the play to be presented with unusual freedom of convention.
“The tricks memory plays can, like theatre, surprise us with the truth,” said Bond. “I know no more fascinating, mysterious, beautiful, and challenging theatre than the theatre of memory, the wellspring of artistic expression. The Glass Menagerie is Tennessee Williams’ gorgeous expression of longed-for freedom, wished-for hope, truth, honesty, and compassion.”
The Glass Menagerie is Williams’ most autobiographical play. Similar to his character of Tom (Tennessee’s real name), Williams grew up under the care of his daughter-of-the-South mother, and he had a younger sister named Rose (Laura’s nickname in the play is Blue Roses.)
Williams’ first major success, The Glass Menagerie premiered in Chicago in 1944 and moved to Broadway in 1945. The play has been adapted into two Hollywood movies, three radio productions, two television productions, and seven Broadway productions.
Cast members in the Syracuse Stage production of The Glass Menagerie are Adriana Gaviria (Laura), Elizabeth Hess (Amanda), Michael Kirby (The Gentleman Caller), and Joseph Midyett (Tom). Designers are William Bloodgood (Scenic Designer), Jessica Ford (Costume Designer), Dawn Chiang (Lighting Design), Michael G. Keck (Composer), and Kate Freer (Video Design). Additional credits include Stuart Plymesser (Production Stage Manager), Celia Madeoy (Dialect Coach), and Kyle Bass (Dramaturg). Directing is Timothy Bond.