SDAY PICK: The Glass Menagerie at The Players Theatre
As I sat in on the final dress rehearsal of the Two Chairs Theatre Company production of The Glass Menagerie, I got incredibly nostalgic. There is something so sacred about having these stories unfold before us in a darkened room where we are given glimpses of our own psyches.
I miss the theatre. It's been a few years since I performed in Jenny Beres' play Hay Day at the Players Theatre, and as I sat in on the final dress rehearsal of the Two Chairs Theatre Company production of The Glass Menagerie, I got incredibly nostalgic. There is something so sacred about having these stories unfold before us in a darkened room where we are given glimpses of our own psyches, and though we are helpless to change the drama occurring on the stage, that drama indelibly inspires the transformation of our hearts.
In the case of The Glass Menagerie, the Tennessee Williams play which first debuted in 1944, we are given this glimpse through the lives of a broken family trying to uphold the traditions that have failed them. At a time when a family of three could scrape by on sixty-five dollars a month, we find that they still have to deal with the same problems which so many face today. As each character deals with their own anxieties over the monotony of industrial employment, the despair of unfulfilled dreams, and the courage it takes to face a seemingly cruel world, this story unveils the longing that each of us face as we strive to live up to the expectations set before us by our families, our society, and ourselves.
The drama, and underlying comedy within, is played out brilliantly by a cast led by Dylan Jones, who narrates the story as he weaves his way through it. Director Elliot Raines says that he likes to cast not by type, but by talent, and when he finds talent that works well with him, he tries to hold onto them and recycle them in different plays. That synergy is apparent in his current production, as he has worked with Jones in seven shows now and Lynne Doyle, who plays Jones' mother, in three. Lauren Ward brings a beautiful sweetness to the role of Laura and exudes the fragility of the play's namesake, in each moment seeming like she is about to shatter, yet she somehow finds the strength we all seek as she is lifted and dropped by her gentleman caller, played by Two Chairs newcomer Josh Brin.
Show times are 7:30 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as well as a 2:00 matinée on Sunday through October 12 on the main stage at the Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34236. The theatre is also offering 2 for 1 tickets at www.players.org. As for me, I'm gonna have to see what auditions are coming up around the bend.