Barlett Theater’s debut production is a startling take on a familiar classic, The Glass Menagerie | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

Barlett Theater’s debut production is a startling take on a familiar classic, The Glass Menagerie 

Bartlett Theater shines in its debut, The Glass Menagerie

Photo by Charles Murdock Lucas

Bartlett Theater shines in its debut, The Glass Menagerie

The moment takes us by surprise at the start of Act 2 in Bartlett Theater's production of The Glass Menagerie. Under Jonathan Bohun Brady's direction, Maigan Kennedy's Laura stands stock still, arms out, as overbearing Southern matriarch Amanda (Shannon Malone) dresses her to snare a suitor coming to dinner that night. But Laura's pose seems oddly lifeless, stuck somewhere between a somnambulist, a zombie and a person about to be crucified.

So we can't exactly accuse Brady of sentimentalism in his interpretation of the Tennessee Williams classic, the semi-autobiographical account of a young artist struggling to break free of his dysfunctional family, in Bartlett Theater's inaugural run. Not when faced with Kennedy's strikingly abashed mannerisms and body language, and certainly not when our narrator, Laura's brother Tom (Adam Poole), recounts this memory play so evasively at its start and finish.

Even the gentleman caller, Jim (Chris Wright), the putative savior, winds up as a fairly pompous twit who's taken Dale Carnegie's win-friends-and-influence-people thing a bit too seriously. Still, the sum of these unexpected choices is preferable to soapier takes that keep these characters eternally inert in the gauzy precincts of memory.

Charles Murdock Lucas' set, with minimal furnishings placed on a shocking rectangular plane of white rock salt, echoes both the broken glass motif in Triad Stage's astounding 2010 production and the field of ice in PlayMakers Rep's rewarding 2000 run. Stevan Dupor's lighting cues are sudden, not seductive. This starkness reminds us to keep our wits about us.

We long for Tom to find some reconciliation with his memories and with the family he abandoned to pursue his own freedom. But Poole's manner and relatively curt delivery suggest a man who always keeps his emotions at arm's length—and who remains as unforgiven and on the run at the end of the play as he was at the beginning. It's one of the colder readings I've ever encountered of this classic, and enough to recommend it even for those already familiar with the work.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Fire and ice"

  • The region’s newest theater company performs the Tennessee Williams classic through Nov. 15.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Should you ever require the services of a hacker, i implore you to try your very best to hire only …

by Nyomi Durani on Old time music in Sanford (Theater)

Should you ever require the services of a hacker, i implore you to try your very best to hire only …

by Teresa Mccarthy on A moribund society makes a stately exodus in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Deep Dish Theater (Theater)

Best wishes & thanks to a fine artist & a real gentleman.

by khoragos on Paul Frellick Diagnoses Deep Dish Theater Company’s Lasting Legacy and Quiet Demise (Theater)

Thank you, Paul, and best wishes to you and your family in California.

by David Fellerath 1 on Paul Frellick Diagnoses Deep Dish Theater Company’s Lasting Legacy and Quiet Demise (Theater)

I commend Mr.Woods on his insight. There is a lot to think about in both his article and the following …

by natty on Justice Theater Project's superbly sung and choreographed The Color Purple has one fatal flaw (Theater)

Comments

Should you ever require the services of a hacker, i implore you to try your very best to hire only …

by Nyomi Durani on Old time music in Sanford (Theater)

Should you ever require the services of a hacker, i implore you to try your very best to hire only …

by Teresa Mccarthy on A moribund society makes a stately exodus in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Deep Dish Theater (Theater)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation