Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Glass Menagerie (Steppenwolf Theatre) - 11/8/08

Like all great works of art, "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams warrants repeated viewings; and the great thing about theater as an art form is a text's ability to take on different perspectives from production to production, let alone performance to performance. I've seen "Menagerie", a memory play structured as a series of snapshot scenes of a family struggling in Missouri during the Great Depression, numerous times now. What's amazing is the impact it repeatedly has: every time I see it, the play breaks my heart as if I were watching it for the first time. The current all-African American production at the Steppenwolf Theatre is a beautifully acted, simply and sensitively staged affair. Special kudos to the two women in the cast, Shanesia Davis (Amanda) and Nambi Kelley (Laura). They are giving vividly inhabited performances, and the fading images of them at the end of each act alone on the stage of Tom's mind's eye are utterly heartbreaking.

Rating: ***1/2 (out of *****)

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