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BWW Interview: V. J. Liberatori of THE GLASS MENAGERIE at Aux Dog Theatre

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BWW Interview: V. J. Liberatori of THE GLASS MENAGERIE  at Aux Dog Theatre

According to their Artistic Director, V. J. Liberatori, the Aux Dog Theatre is known for introducing the next generation of American Playwrights as well as reimagining the classics and updating them in various ways. With their upcoming production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, Liberatori hopes that they continue to stay true to the mission of Aux Dog Theatre and bring something unique to the production.

The Glass Menagerie is an autobiographical play, featuring characters based on Willaims' family, including his mother and sister. The play revolves around recollection of Tom Wingfield's memories of a night when Tom brings home a friend from work. Amanda, Tom's mother who is obsessed with finding a suitor or "gentleman caller" for Tom's sister Laura, had pressured Tom into inviting his friend over for dinner. During the dinner, Amanda reminisces about her own youth and "gentleman callers" while Laura struggles to overcome her crippling shyness to interact with Tom's friend Jim. While the evening starts out well, it descends into tragedy, culminating in Tom leaving his family to join the Merchant Marines.

"It's such a seminal play of his [Williams']" Liberatori said, when discussing what drew her to the play. "[The dialogue] is so soulful, poetic, and lyrical with characters that are so emotionally vibrant. [...] The emotions, the way [Williams] is able to conjure up memories of the narrator." It's the story of Tom's family and his relationship with his mother and sister and how he's affected by them. "[It] contains one of the most beautiful scenes in all [of] American literature." Liberatori is hoping to highlight these aspects of the play through a minimal set designed to, "[...] emphasize the memory aspects and echoing in [Tom's} mind of these memories that have haunted him from the time he abandoned his sister and his mother."

Aux Dog and Liberatori cast the play's director, Fredrick Ponzlov, as the main character. "Tom, in this production, is a 70-year-old-man looking back over forty years to these memories he's carried with him all his life. [This creates a] level of poignancy you don't always get when you have a cast with a younger Tom. [Tom is a] homeless man sitting on a stoop somewhere in the world, thinking back again and remembering." Ponzlov's casting as Tom is not the only unique casting that The Glass Menagerie has to offer. Jim, the "gentleman caller" will also be played by two actors on alternate dates, Pete Sheldon and Julian Bonfiglio. "[It was] fascinating to watch two actors come at the role of Jim differently, but mesh beautifully." In addition, Sharon Skinner, who plays Amanda, is returning to the stage after fifteen years, and according to Liberatori is, "doing one hell of a job," portraying the strength and loving nature of the character in a way Liberatori has rarely seen.

The Glass Menagerie runs from Friday, February 21, 2020 until March 15th, 2020, with performances at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday and 2:00 pm on Sunday. Tickets cost $23 for general admission, $20 for ATG/Industry/Military, $12 for Students of any age, and $10 each for a group of 10 or more. For opening weekend, the tickets will be discounted to $5 for students and $15 for all adults. Tickets can be purchased from: https://www.artful.ly/store/events/19714 or by calling (505) 596-0607. Up next for Aux Dog Theatre's season is Shakespeare 505.


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From This Author Beth Leitman