Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Glass Menagerie

Stunning.  Enchanting.  Emotional.  Potent.  Transformative.

All these words resonate when it comes to John Tiffany's direction of this new production of Tennessee Williams' classic play.

Casting is the essential ingredient in the success of this production.  Cherry Jones (Amanda), Zachary Quinto (Tom), Celian Keegan-Bolger (Laura), and Brian J. Smith (Gentleman Caller) comprise the perfectly balanced and remarkably talented cast.  Each of these pros brings power and tenderness, anger and awkwardness, and emotion and silence to the incredibly poignant material.

Ms. Jones smothers her children with an incredible southern belle persona.  Mr. Quinto brings an anger and sympathy to the role of the dutiful son trapped in his home.  Ms. Keegan-Bolger brings a remarkable loneliness to Laura.  Mr. Smith brings an innocence and likability to the role I've not quite seen before.  Take  all together, they are simply enchanting.

As Mr. Williams writes, this is a memory play.  So Mr. Tiffany and Bob Crowley (sets) have adorned his version of it with a stage floating apart from the theater among water and the apartment set is, as memory might itself be, both complete in parts and incomplete in others, hence the fire escape rises to the rafters while nothing else quite does.

Mr. Williams writes that memory itself is dim and vague so therefore Natasha Katz (lighting) offers the most focused and purposeful lighting effects.  Mr. Tiffany's gentle and specific movement effects throughout the play remind you of how you slide into and out of a memory.

This production is brilliantly understated and powerfully impactful.  Sometimes less is more.  And more is definitely what you get with this production.  Rise and Shine!