BY JACOB FROELICH
Widely considered a great American classic The Glass Menagerie, onstage now at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, comes to life in a simple yet intensely captivating production. The entire cast consists of just four actors, yet the moments and feelings they create and portray are deeply felt by the audience. The Glass Menagerie kicks off the 2019-2020 Guthrie season. Stated by the theater itself, the entire season will encompass themes of “romance, survival, hubris and identity.” The Glass Menagerie encompasses all of these themes in vivid detail.
I take great pleasure in applauding the entire cast of this production. Each character is carefully crafted and brought to life with such truth it becomes easy to relate to these characters. Remy Auberjonois as oldest child Tom Wingfield opens the show and while there isn’t any fanfare to speak of, he captured my interest from the first moment, retelling a painful memory of his past.Glimpses of the life of Tennessee Williams’ own life are brought to light in the intimate and tense moments between Tom’s mother (Jennifer Van Dyck) and sister (Carey Cox). Van Dyck, as Amanda Wingfield, gives a moving performance as a woman struggling to hold onto her past. She is extremely strong willed and yet she struggles with how to justify and explain how the sum of her life choices has added up to their current circumstances.
Amidst her brother’s identity crisis and against her mother’s strong hubris, Laura Wingfield struggles to keep peace, perhaps even survive, and maintain the status quo in her life. Laura’s delicate temperament is a beautiful contrast next to her family’s disfunction and chaos. Unlike the rest of her family, she appears content and happy with the life she has created. It isn’t until gentleman caller Jim O’Connor (Grayson DeJesus) disrupts her world that we see her world start to unravel. Charming, romantic and bright, DeJesus shines as a beacon of hope for the Wingfield family, if only for a short time. Together these four present hard to swallow truths in a tragedy for the ages.
The Glass Menagerie will run September 14 – October 27, 2019, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $15 for preview performances (September 14–19), and regular ticket prices start at $25. Tickets are on sale now through the Box Office at 612.377.2224, 1.877.44.STAGE (toll-free) or online at guthrietheater.org. Post-play discussions and access services (ASL-interpreted, audio-described and open-captioned performances) are available on select dates and by request. Visit guthrietheater.org for more information.