WICA’s latest theatrical offering is Tennessee Williams’ most famous play, “The Glass Menagerie.” It runs every weekend through April 21. Why should you go see it? Not because it’s a masterpiece (it is). Not because it’s written by one of America’s greatest playwrights (he is). But because a cast of local actors and actresses have taken on the challenge of bringing this tender, funny and heartbreaking play to life –— and they’ve done it.
Unlike Williams’ later plays steaming with southern sensuality (remember Paul Newman in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”?), this play is gentle and tightly controlled. A single mother and her two adult children live in a shabby apartment in St. Louis. Tom, the son, is a tightly wound coil of humanity desperate to get out of his deadend job and family responsibility. His sister Laura has a handicap, which has turned her into a beautiful incredibly shy recluse. Their mother Amanda lives in the charmed Southern past of her youth and cannot really cope with either one of them. Sounds pretty drab, doesn’t it? But it isn’t… it has wonderful moments of humor…and tenderness…and insight into the human condition.
The four actors and actresses — Bob Downing, Patricia Duff, Conner Kinzer, and Nichole Morell — are all good, really good — and the director, Tristan Steele, has poured his heart and soul into the production — and it shows. Every now and then WICA takes a chance that their audience will support the production of a really challenging play. This is one of those plays. GO. It will make you laugh…and maybe cry… and realize that this is theater at its very best.