Arts and Culture

Williams classic leaves something to be desired

On Feb. 24th and 25th, Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie was brought to life on Wheaton’s campus, courtesy of Roxbury Repertory Theatre. The show left me, and many others, less than thrilled. A few loved it, some hated it, and most were just confused. The acting was not very good, and many of the artistic choices were questionable.

The impression before the performance was that with the addition of black actors to play the children of a white woman, the play would be more dynamic. Though a valiant attempt, the performance as a whole was disappointing.

In the program, it explained that the original performances of this production of The Glass Menagerie were in October. Perhaps it had been a while since the actors had been exposed to the script, because they did not know their lines. In the opening monologue by Damon Singletary (Tom), he had to start a particular section three times because he couldn’t get it right. Ironically enough, the line he kept repeating was about how important memory was in the play. It wasn’t just Singletary who messed up his lines, though. All of the actors were stumbling to start their lines, and some of the delivery was confusing to say the least. At one point, Chris Gaskell (Jim) slightly raised his arms and said something along the lines of “look how big my shadow is.” However, in order for this line to make any sense, he would’ve needed to at least try to raise his arms a bit higher.

There were moments when Julie Dapper (Amanda) showed that she has some true acting talent, but the overall believability of the actors was definitely lacking. Likewise, Emerald Johnson (Laura) had a few nice choices when it came to how she portrayed the character’s traits, but she was rather difficult to understand and didn’t seem to be too dedicated to the performance.

Artistically, a few choices stood out. Perhaps the best choice was to have the glass menagerie on the ground toward the edge of the stage. This added more complexity to the object, and made it more of a character than a prop. There was music interjected throughout the performance, which sometimes made sense and sometimes did not. At times, it certainly had a reason for being there, but at other times it just seemed to be filling in for something missing. Another choice was to only have certain tangible props on stage, and to mime all other actions. The explanation for this was that since it’s a dream world, some things are tangible and some are not. However, if miming is going to be done to make a point, then miming should be consistent throughout the show. If props are going to be included, then there needs to be no miming of other props. At one point, there were multiple people “drinking,” but only one person had a glass. The lack of props as an artistic choice is interesting, but it did nothing more for me than serve as a distraction.

Overall, the concept is great. However, the execution was not, and there were many flaws that took away from what could’ve been a decent show.