The ACU Theatre Department began rehearsals Tuesday for “The Glass Menagerie”, a powerful memory play that continues the season’s theme of exploring the intricacies of relationships. The play will come to the stage April 10-12 and 24-26 at 7:30 p.m.
Dawne Meeks, associate professor of theatre, said the play fulfills a dream to direct a work by Tennessee Williams.
“His writing is so incredibly poetic,” she said. “He understood family dynamics in terms of creating honest characters that are truly multidimensional.”
Mikayla Tipps, sophomore musical theatre major from Amarillo, portrays Laura Wingfield, a nervous young woman who suffers a limp from a disease earlier in life.
“Many people today would also say that Laura has some kind of social disorder,” Tipps said. “She’s described time and time again as being extremely shy.”
The play follows the Wingfield family through the attempt to find a “gentleman caller” for Laura, and the difficulties and tragedies the family brings with them. Laura’s brother, Tom, plays a pivotal role in the search for a suitor, Tipps said.
“The way the story goes, it looks like it’s about Laura,” she said. “But it’s really about Tom. There’s conflict with him – whether he should stay or whether he should leave and have his own life.”
The way Tom reacts to his family adds to the elusive concept of the production as a memory play, Meeks said.
“Tom functions as the narrator, and then he steps back into the world of the play and gets to participate in it,” she said. “I wanted the play to be like our own memories. They’re a little jagged, not quite finished out – fuzzy on the edges.”
Meeks said that in keeping with the dream-like theme of memory, the set was designed to look like it was almost floating.
“We wanted that magical, fantastical experience,” she said. “And yet, you see those actors that are rooted in an honest place as they tell the story.”
The performance also incorporates an original score by Marc Sanders, a pianist that also played for ACU’s performance of “Next to Normal.”
“It’s almost like he’s providing the subtext for the actors,” Meeks said. “He’s able to fill in those unspoken words with the magic and beauty of that piano score – it’s just stunning.”
The innovative set design and an original musical score will make “The Glass Menagerie” a formidable experience when it shows. Tickets are available at the Box Office Monday-Friday from 1-5 p.m. or online at acu.edu/theatre.