Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Glass Menagerie"

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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Bob Guenthner

The Glass Menagerie"

Reviewed by The Old Grump

"The Glass Menagerie"

by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Robert Duquette

set design & construction by John Beausoleil
Costume Design by Katherine Hull
production - manager Merrie Mizaras stage manager - Carol Sherman


Lisa Beausoleil [Laura]
Evan James [Jim]
Linda Monchik [ Amanda]
Dennis Ryan [Tom ]

The play takes place in St. Louis Mo. 1939. The apartment of the Wingfields is the setting. It is a run down place. Water stains and cracks in the walls, with a gaping hole hole in the plaster. A vacant spot on the wall where a large picture once hung, also lends to the shabby appearance of the rooms.

The family consists of the mother [Amanda ], a nonstop talking woman who lives in the past. We are led to believe her recollections of the past aren't quite what they really were. She nags her son [Tom ], and daughter [Laura] constantly. I think her chatter is a cover up for her own insecurities. Her husband left one day, nineteen years ago, never to return. A post card from Mexico with the message "Hello, Good-bye ," has been the only contact.

Tom is virtually the sole support for the family. He is a warehouse worker who dreams of escape from his dreary life and ponders exploring the world like his father.

Laura is an extremely shy young woman. She walks with a limp, and is overly aware of her affliction. She has become a quitter, dropping out of high school, and a business school, all because of her insecurity.

The mother persuades Tom to bring home one of his friends, in hopes that a romance can develop with Laura. Tom does bring home Jim, an ex high school hero, who, though also working in the warehouse, is taking night school classes to better himself. He is a forceful, take charge person. I have no doubts that someday, he will succeed in bettering his station in life.

The scene in the second act, with Laura and Tom sitting on the floor, talking by candle light is memorable. The need for candles, is because Jim spent the bill money on a merchant marine license and dues. The tale has very few humorous moments. It is a drama in every sense of the word. Mr. Williams had a career of writing dark plays.

Linda did a fine job as the mother. The role demanded a series of long rambling monologs, which were performed smoothly.

Dennis also acted as a narrator of sort. He was able to move from the soft spoken tale spinner, to the unhappy, angry young man without skipping a beat.

Lisa was very convincing as the daughter-sister. Her hesitant vocal work, combined with her ability to act with her face and body, was magnificent. Each show that I see, I seem to pick out one actor to focus on. Lisa was the one in this play.

Each of the above actors were able to portray the disillusionment with their lives in convincing style.

My opinion of Evan grew as the play went on. At first, I didn't take to the way he played his character, but as the story moved along, I became convinced he was the right man for the part. During the play I sat beside his proud mother, Thank God for loyal parents.

Bob Duquette directed a fine show. A good directors talent can be over looked. Bob is also a super actor to go along with his directing and writing. A talented young man.

Nemasket River Productions has a long history of work at the Black & White Theatre. I hope this marriage can go on for many more years. Everything about this theater is small. The place itself, the stage, and the ticket prices are tiny. This is a cozy place to spend an evening for the cost of a video rental or two.

"Little Women" (12 - 27 July)
250 North Main Street, MIDDLEBOROUGH MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide