The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams plays at the Lyric Theatre at the Plaza through April 13th. Set in the 1930s, the production begins with Tom (Alex J Enterine) giving us a rundown of each of the characters we’ll meet. His mother Amanda (Helen Hedman), his sister Laura (Lindsay Pittman), Jim (Dallas Lish), and the ghost of his absentee father, are all established by Tom’s opening monologue. Two other constructs inform the direction of the play: the Depression and its effects on those without means. Amanda struggles to secure a place for herself and her children in a world that has little sympathy for a woman abandoned by her husband. Tom is obliged to take his father’s place as the sole breadwinner in the family, but resents the burdens that keep him from his poetry and adventure. Laura is constantly badgered by her mother about business school, gentleman callers and the like, but is paralyzed by social anxiety and retreats to the safety of her glass menagerie at every opportunity. While the play is set in 1937, its themes are especially relevant today, and it’s to the Lyric’s credit that they choose to produce it now.
Michael Baron directs the production masterfully, and I cannot say enough about the cast. Hedman is the epitome of Amanda, her love for her children twisted by poverty into screeching rants and delusional remembrances of good times gone by. Enterine is fantastic as Tom, making clear his struggle between love for his family and the desire to get as far away from them as possible. Pittman shines as Laura, where her fewer speaking lines are more than made up by her presence on stage. Lish embodies the boisterous Jim, The Gentleman Caller, confident that he has all the answers despite not being as far along in life as so many expect of him.
This is such a great show! Set Designer Dawn Drake, with Lighting Designer John Fowler and Properties Designer Courtney Strong do a fantastic job, and evoke what can be both comforting and uncomfortable about such a small shared space. Costume Designer Jeffrey Meek furthers the characters’ social standings and personalities with their dress. Bleak realities are quietly emphasized by Sound Designer Michael Mosteller. Baron and Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein have put together a great show. This is a retelling of a much lauded classic that is superbly directed, produced and acted, and will resonate with audiences without modernization. Go see The Glass Menagerie!
The Glass Menagerie is running at the Lyric Theatre at the Plaza, located at 1725 NW 16th St. The Glass Menagerie is playing now through April 13th, with shows Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM and a Saturday matinee at 2:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased online here, or by calling 405.524.9312. Enjoy the show!