The Theatre and Dance Department’s first show of the semester, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, will be playing at the Andreas Theatre Jan. 26 to 29 and Feb. 1 to 5 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $11 for MNSU students and $16 for general admission.
Around 1941, Williams wrote a short story entitled Portrait of a Girl in Glass. This short story would go on to inspire his famous play, The Glass Menagerie. The play tells the story of the Wingfield family, set in St. Louis in 1937.
The play is told through the memories of the narrator, Tom Wingfield. Tom’s father is not a part of the family forcing Tom to support his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura. His mother is a proud woman who often reminisces about her past and the gentlemen callers she once had. She desperately wants the best for her daughter and wants to see her settle down with a nice man. Amanda fails to see her daughter for the shy, delicate person she is. Laura is embarrassed by being physically crippled and chooses to hide away rather than interact with society.
The Glass Menagerie explores the Wingfields’ intricate relationships and the struggles they face in an uncertain, unfamiliar world. The Glass Menagerie singlehandedly launched Williams’ career. It opened in Chicago to a small audience, but quickly grew and was moved to Broadway in 1945. The play, largely based on Williams’ own life, went on to win the prestigious New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award.
Due to the popularity of Williams and his work, directing one of his shows could prove to be a daunting task. This is a welcomed challenge, however, for the director and MNSU professor Melissa Rosenberger. Rosenberger knew from the start that she wanted to differentiate her production from others by using the Reading Edition of the script instead of the Acting Edition to inspire her show. Most productions follow the Acting Edition but the Reading Edition is the script Williams preferred and wanted passed on.
“He felt very strongly about what he included… He was bored with what was on stage at the time and wanted to bring more life to it,” said Rosenberger. “I’m in love with what he was in love with at the time.”
Although it was written in the 1940s, Rosenberger believes the story is still very much relevant today.
“I think all the characters in the story to me are very desperate for change and they just want things to be better,” said Rosenberger. “I think people feel really scared right now, unsure and lost. There will be at least one character that will make you go, ‘I know how they feel.’”
The Glass Menagerie has a small cast comprised of Luke Steinborn, Samantha Buckley, Ashley Gunn and Salvatore Frattallone.
The show opens Thursday and runs through Sunday, Jan. 29, then runs for a second weekend from Wednesday, Feb. 1 to Sunday, Feb. 5.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. each night and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are available in the Performing Arts building’s box office from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, or starting an hour before each show. Tickets are $11 for current MNSU students and $16 for general admission.