The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams
Produced by Anne-Marie Bouthillette | Directed by Matt Kowalyk
An enduring masterpiece of modern drama, The Glass Menagerie is a memory play, tinged with regret. Tom, the narrator, tells the story of his overbearing mother and cripplingly shy sister whose world revolves around her collection of glass figurines. Set in St. Louis in the 1930’s, Tom vividly recalls his craving for adventure and excitement, contrasted with his mother Amanda’s pining for a long-gone life of privilege and her anxiety over finding a husband for Tom’s sister, Laura.
A semi-autobiographical debut play by Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie is considered one of the first ‘new theatre’ plays that challenges traditional linear theatre. Is the story told the truth? Only our narrator knows.
The Glass Menagerie Opened the 2015-2016 with Classic Theatre
The Northumberland Players opened their 2015 – 2016 season with a classic piece of American theatre. Matt Kowalyk directed Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. This poignant character study tells the story of the Wingfield family, precariously perched on the edge of despair between the fading traditions of the old south and the emerging modernity of industrial St. Louis. Set in the early 1930s, it is told from the point of view of Tom Wingfield, the adult son of Amanda Wingfield, and is based on Williams’ own life as a young man longing to break from his family to pursue his dream of writing.
The Glass Menagerie opened on Friday, September 25, to a sold-out audience and continued to Sunday, October 11.
For details about the production, including notes, cast and production volunteers, see The Glass Menagerie.
Read the Northumberland News preview, “The Glass Menagerie Opens Northumberland Players Season”.
Read the Northumberland Today review, “Northumberland Players Shine in Tennessee Williams Classic”.
Relative newcomer Neil Dallhoff played the part of Tom: “I was drawn to the brilliance of Williams’ writing, and the honesty of the story. It’s a family drama being played out against the background of a volatile time and place. The Wingfield Family faces challenges that everyone can relate to on some level. It’s as human as you can get.” Neil’s first appearance with the Players was in last spring’s spectacular musical production, Les Misérables.
Seasoned Player Tiffany Wolters (The Mousetrap, Agnes of God, It’s a Wonderful Life) plays the role of Laura, Tom’s older sister.
Jennie Ryan (Calendar Girls) plays Amanda, their mother. And Jamie Hunt (Les Misérables) plays the role of the gentleman caller, Jim O’Connor.
Jamie Hunt and Tiffany Wolters
Matt Kowalyk- Director
Matt Kowalyk was excited to return to the Players to direct this production. Audiences will remember Matt Kowalyk as the Players’ original George Bailey in the 2013 sold-out production of It’s a Wonderful Life, and also for his role in Glengarry Glen Ross in 2013. A professionally trained actor, Matt has also directed previously, but this is his directing debut with the Players. The Glass Menagerie has always been a favourite, and his vision for this interpretation is to keep it classic, and let the story and the emotions speak for themselves. Some versions of the script call for projections of images, which were meant to provide visual context for some of the dialogue, but Matt preferred to leave these out, noting that audiences are sophisticated enough nowadays to create their own mental images as the dialogue unfolds.
The set for this Firehall production, by interior designer Will Ryan, was arguably one of the most challenging to date for this space, as it required distinct indoor and outdoor spaces; many of Tom’s lines are delivered from the apartment’s fire escape (off to the right) and set builder David McTavish and his crew once again worked magic in creating this unique set feature. Working in such an intimate space meant that the builders and prop designers had to pay very close attention to details, as the audience is never more than five rows away from the action. Dave is particularly proud of the metal steps that they were able to find which give the fire escape its unmistakeable “clang” as actors come up its staircase.
FIREHALL THEATRE, COBOURG
“The Glass Menagerie” is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.