“There’s such a high price for negligence in this world.” (T. Williams, Glass Menagerie, Amanda)
Recently To Do Productions presented a very splendid interpretation of T. Williams’ lyrical and lovely play The Glass Menagerie at Theatre Marigny. Glenn Meche directed a very moving production with an all star cast, including one of our own top talents, Lyla Hay Owen, in the starring role of the neurasthenic and opportunistically self-deluded mother, Amanda Wingfield. Ms. Owen created a completely unique and earth bound Amanda very different from the ones I have seen on stage several times in other productions. Instead of a totally deluded T. Williams’ heroine, all flighty and fluffy in filmy flowered dresses, Ms. Owen took the character with both hands like a dying azalea bush, cut and slashed her weaker parts away and planted her with deep demanding roots in the richly Indecent-Proposals-imagined soil of her own mind and determination... she changed her from a spindly little bush with one anxious azalea blossom past its prime into an iron camellia growing from an evergreen plant strongly rooted in her hopes and dreams. Ms. Owen was a refreshing and more realistically realized Amanda, a mother who was determined to get her fragile daughter a husband. It was a bravura display of acting keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Brava, Lyla Hay Owen who was brave enough to change Amanda from a shrinking violet into an iron camellia and do it without sacrificing feminine grace and charm.
And bravissimo to the rest of this all star cast: Keith Launey who seems to have a natural instinct for the art of acting and who did a heart-breaking interpretation of the son, Tom Wingfield; and ditto for the beautiful Liz Mills who was an outstanding Laura Wingfield. Leon Contavesprie made for a handsome, hearty but sensitive gentleman caller, Jim O’Connor. Glenn Meche both directed and did the workable sets. This production was stunningly beautiful. There was not a dry eye in the audience as the play ended. What an elegant kind of cathartic experience this Glass Menagerie turned out to be!
Final word ... ? I don't know. I think I might jot down some of my own thoughts about this production and the actors I had to work with. Check back in a day or two.