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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Menagerie’ shines in Tucson

    Are people born to be remembered? Take Tennessee Williams — with a slew of plays under his belt (“”A Streetcar Named Desire,”” anyone?) Williams has no doubt etched his name into history. One of his and America’s best plays is “”The Glass Menagerie.””

    As Williams’ fans poured into the Arizona Theatre Company, the ages ranged from high schoolers to retirees. With the crowd dressed up for a night at the theater, thrilled whispers bounced around the intimate auditorium until the curtain finally rose.

    The play takes you right into the 1930s drawing room of the Wingfields. Amanda is an overbearing mother, stubbornly living in the past where she was a beautiful Southern belle. Unfortunately, the city lacks the grandeur and charm of her old life.

    Laura is Amanda’s painfully shy daughter with a leg deformity that cripples her physically and mentally. Her only source of joy is a collection of tiny glass-blown animals, from which the play derives its name. Her brother Tom is a disillusioned dreamer who escapes to the movies to catch a glimpse of adventure, despite being bound by duty to his mother and sister.

    As a life of boring nothings continues for the Wingfields, Amanda becomes increasingly desperate to marry her awkward daughter. When Tom brings a coworker from the factory to meet Laura, the family dynamics drastically change forever.

    Surprisingly, besides the serious topics in “”The Glass Menagerie,”” the work is really funny — especially the lovingly bitter quarrels between Amanda and Tom. Amanda, played by Catalina Maynard, becomes the embodiment of annoying motherly traits — mollycoddling to the point of insanity. Noel Joseph Allain’s portrayal of Tom is both hilarious and startling as he tries to maintain the Wingfield’s tenuous hold on reality.

    Director Juliette Carrillo takes some creative license and directly addresses the audience concerning the impact of memory in storytelling as a play comes to life. Additionally, the gritty backbone of the play’s logistics is bared to theatergoers. The play opens with the stage completely blank, visible all the way to backstage. Stagehands directly walk onto the stage, while main characters end scenes shouting “”lights out.””

    The lifestyles are so different from current realities — Tom works in a factory for $65 a month, while Laura’s only options are to get married or become a typist. Yet for all the anachronisms, the themes still resonate to this day. The show effortlessly juxtaposes hope and despair, memory and reality.

    Will the Wingfields achieve their dreams, or will their hopes scatter like shattered glass? You’ll have to see the play and find out.

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