BWW Review: THE GLASS MENAGERIE Proves to be Hauntingly Beautiful at The Wild Project
Directors Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch have brought a more chilling atmosphere to the Glass Menagerie at The Wild Project. Reuniting with Matt de Rogatis, the directors have chosen a more Wes Craven-themed approach to Tennessee Williams infamous script.
Menagerie, by definition, means a strange or diverse collection of people or things. This, I agree, is true of this production of Menagerie as well. Although this was a strange collection of people, it worked.
Surrounded by the glass furniture of their home, as well as the fluttering, thin walls that surrounded them - the occupants of the Wingfield apartments were as fragile as their surroundings. Set designer Jessie Bonaventure's vision was nothing, if not effective.
A cast of mere four take on the production, with Matt de Rogatis as both the narrator and Tom Wingfield, Alexandra Rose as Laura Wingfield, Ginger Grace as Amanda, their mother, and Spencer Scott as Mr. O'Connor.
The Glass Menagerie is a memory play of a family's time living in a run-down apartment building in St. Louis. The father of the family had abandoned them, years before, not to be heard of except one postcard. The son, Tom, takes care of the family as best he can, but often escapes to the adventures movie theatres take him. Laura, his sister, is painfully shy due to her disability. Their mother Amanda lives in the past, where suitors were still appearing by the droves to see her, before their father, whose portrait hangs ominously in the house, is forever lurking.
Although this was my first viewing of The Glass Menagerie, I was certainly not disappointed by the cast and their interpretation of the show. Scott's version of the Gentleman Caller makes audience members fall in love with him within a mere few scenes on stage. Matt de Rogatis' Tom/Narrator boasts both confidence as the Narrator, and utter defeat as Tom. Rose's version of Laura was convincing, though I did wish her shy demeanor was played with a little more subtly at times.
What really was spectacular was Ginger Grace as Amanda Wingfield. Played with lithe movement but powerful speech, Grace's performance had subtle hints of Patricia Clarkson a-la her recent role as Adora in Sharp Objects.
The Glass Menagerie was haunting in its beauty and is not to be missed.
The Glass Menagerie ran through October 20th, at The Wild Project (195 E 3rd St.). For more information: http://thewildproject.com/performances/the-glass-menagerie/