Duke Performances will present Mabou Mines’ workshop production of The Glass Menagerie, adapted and directed by Lee Breuer, at 3 and 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27th, in the Emma A. Sheafer Laboratory Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke University’s West Campus. This staged reading of the haunting autobiographical 1945 memory play by Mississippi playwright Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams (1911-83) will feature Maude Mitchell, Greg Mehrten, Nic Novicki, and Hannah Kritzeck.
In reviewing a past Mabou Mines production, The New York Times critic raved, “[I]f you’ve been lucky enough to see the work of Lee Breuer over the years … you know that he’s a wizard-director, an alchemist who blends ideas, genres, styles, texts, and technologies to make new kinds of theater.”
According to Duke Performances:
“The ‘most incendiary’ experimental theater company of the past half-century (New York Times), Mabou Mines is an institution of the American avant-garde; for 40 years they’ve staged brave new plays and taken ‘startlingly original’ slants on classic texts (Theatre Journal). Their perpetual revolution continues [Feb. 14-27] in a two-week residency at Duke, when the innovators prepare a new, dream-vision take on Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, under the direction of the ‘wizard-director’ [Lee] Breuer (New York Times).
“Their creative process culminates in this dress-rehearsed, staged reading of Williams’ heartbreaking masterpiece, done workshop-style with scripts in hand. We play witnesses, as the country’s most celebrated ensemble peers at an American classic through the looking glass….
“Presented in association with Duke University’s Theater Studies Department, Mabou Mines’ [Feb. 14-27] residency at Duke is funded, in part, with a visiting artist grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University.”
Tennessee Williams made his Broadway debut with a crowd pleasing production of The Glass Menagerie, directed by Eddie Dowling and Margo Jones. The show, which starred Laurette Taylor as family matriarch Amanda Wingfield, opened on March 31, 1945 at the Playhouse Theatre, later transferred to the Royale Theatre, and racked up a total of 563 performances before closing on Aug 3, 1946.
The 1950 motion-picture version of The Glass Menagerie, directed by Irving Rapper from a screenplay by Williams and Peter Berneis, starred Gertrude Lawrence as meddlesome Amanda, Arthur Kennedy as her resentful son Tom, Jane Wyman as his physically frail and emotionally fragile sister Laura, and Kirk Douglas as the supremely self-confident Jim O’Connor, the long-awaited Gentleman Caller upon whom all Amanda’s hopes for Laura’s future happiness rest.
Tennessee Williams’ fictional counterpart — and the show’s narrator — Tom Wingfield, is an aspiring writer who is forced to be the family breadwinner, because his father long ago fled his mother’s smothering embrace. Tom spends endless days in soul-killing toil in a shoe factory, so that his mother and sister can have food of their table and a roof over their heads. Yet he is increasingly restless, and yearns to spread his figurative wings. But if he too follows his runaway father out the door, and abandons Amanda and Laura, will he be able to handle the guilt?
Duke Performances presents Mabou Mines‘ workshop production of THE GLASS MENAGERIE at 3 and 6 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Emma A. Sheafer Laboratory Theater in the Bryan Center, 125 Science Dr., Durham, North Carolina 27708, on Duke University’s West Campus.
TICKETS: $10 ($5 Duke students and $9 non-Duke students and Duke employees).
BOX OFFICE: 919/684-4444 or http://tickets.duke.edu/auto_choose_ga.asp?area=35. (NOTE: The 3 p.m. show is SOLD OUT.)
The Play: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Glass_Menagerie (Wikipedia), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=3932 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042509/ (Internet Movie Database).
The Playwright: http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/williams_tennessee/index.html (University of Mississippi English Department’s Mississippi Writers Page), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Williams (Wikipedia), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=8822 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0931783/ (Internet Movie Database).
Mabou Mines’ Production: http://www.maboumines.org/productions/glass-menagerie (official web page).
Mabou Mines: http://www.maboumines.org/ (official website).
Lee Breuer: http://leebreuer.com/ (official website).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review,a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.comand type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.
To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Reviewpreviews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.