Biola’s Theater 21 grips audiences with “The Glass Menagerie”
“The Glass Menagerie” boasts of an excellent cast who tells a powerful story. | Eliana Park/THE CHIMES
“The Glass Menagerie” was a slow but methodical play that focuses on a burdened family of three. It is a small-scale story which takes place in the Wingfield family’s cramped and run-down apartment. “The Glass Menagerie” may seem small-scale, but it boasts of a powerfully emotional story carried by a very talented cast of only four people.
subtle revealing of pain and regret
Amanda Wingfield, played by freshman sociology major Amanda Petrowski, is a hard-working, well-mannered, polite yet pragmatic woman who is always prepared for a casual conversation. She often reminisces about how many “gentleman callers” sought her affections until she was won over by Mr. Wingfield, a handsome and charismatic man. Amanda misses the days when she was a coveted débutante and remains filled with regret over marrying Mr. Wingfield, who eventually deserted his family and left Amanda to care for their children by herself. Though regretful of the past, Amanda loves her two children and is determined to give her daughter a better life. Petrowski does a fantastic job at subtly revealing the pain and regret that the character feels. She depicts a wounded mother who lives in fear of her daughter failing to find a lover and her son Tom becoming more and more like his father.
Junior theatre major Victoria Sanchez, plays the apprehensive and nervous Laura Wingfield who is Amanda’s daughter. Though she is pretty, her awkward limp combined with her introverted and skittish personality make her an outcast with little to no hope of attracting any “gentleman callers.” Sanchez captures the essence of the character perfectly. She is plagued by paranoia and a lack of self-confidence that clashes with her mother’s extroverted and glamorous personality. Sanchez shows the timidness which causes the character to prefer looking after her glass menagerie instead of meeting new people.
a gripping and powerful play
Tom Wingfield is Amanda’s youngest child who inherited the financial responsibility of the family. Even though he loves his mother and sister, he feels imprisoned and over-burdened by the responsibility of providing for them. Played by Caleb Bailey, freshman English major, Tom loves poetry and writing but he is forced to settle for an uninteresting warehouse job so he can make some money for his family. Bailey’s performance represents another highlight of the play. He expertly portrays Tom’s frustration and resentment towards his mother. Bailey captures the conflict which wars within Tom between a love for his family and an ever-increasing desire to run away in search of adventure and a better life. Bailey also provides comic relief, showcasing an ability to bring some humor and levity to intense and emotional scenes.
The cast does an amazing job at carrying the play. Their performance captivated the audience with the conflict and drew them into the story. The emotions which the characters feel continually transfer to the audience, which causes them to invest in the characters and show concern for their outcome. Freshman communication studies major Marc DeJager's portrayal of Jim O’Conner does a great job at furthering the story and providing a situation which leads to the climax of the play.
The skillful work of the cast combined with powerful writing by Tennessee Williams makes this play a must-see. “The Glass Menagerie” is a gripping and powerful play which asks questions about the importance of family, regret, fear and love. It tells a potent story which leaves the audience contemplating the finale as they leave the theater. What makes it perhaps even more powerful in how it asks many questions, yet intentionally offers no answers. Instead, it lets the audience decide for themselves.