Menagerie hits Pickard
A story of broken dreams and glass illusions, The Glass Menagerie was Tennessee Williams's first popular success. The play promises to be as powerful on Bowdoin's Pickard Theater stage as it was when it originally premiered in Chicago in 1944.
Directed by Brendan Smith-Elion '02, this production of
The Glass Menagerie has been the culmination of a year long project.
Elion emphasized that although the play may appear to be simple at first
glance, careful examination reveals the fact that the storyline "operates
on many different levels."
By developing the characters and the play over such a long
rehearsal period, Elion hopes that he has been able to "get to the
really subtle points" of the play and reveal the "multifaceted
text" of The Glass Menagerie.
Because Menagerie is a "memory play," Williams's
text allows for freedom in terms of normal play conventions and interpretations.
The play is an attempt to combine the thought processes of characters
onstage with correlating images to create a smooth flow that is unlike
the conventional concept of a play.
The Glass Menagerie was originally envisioned by
Tennessee Williams as "plastic theater"-slide projections were
used to create images that complemented the live action on stage. Elion
has brought this concept to the next level.
Combining his interest in film and design, his version of
the play combines screen action-which takes place on two screens on stage
right and left-and live action on stage. Elion hopes that this combination
will create a fluid piece of art that blurs the lines between thought
Although the use of screens in performance art is commonplace,
the manner in which Elion uses the screens will bring a certain seriousness
to the material that is not usually achieved in performance art.
The cast members, chosen last April, have proven at each
rehearsal that they have delved deep into the characters they are playing.
"Each actor has taken the skeleton that is their character in the
script and fleshed it out," said Elion. The actors ability to "add
their own character and make the parts their own" has impressed Elion
at every turn.
Not only has the cast found personal connections to each
character, Elion said that "aspects of the play have personal pertinence"
for himself as well.
The Glass Menagerie will be put on in Pickard Theater on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, 2002 at 7:00 pm. The play is being presented by the Bowdoin College Department of Theater and Dance.