We have three fantastic shows running and two more to go before we complete our 2012 Summer Repertory lineup. Every Friday in July a new show opens; this week, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. it’s Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. A symphony for four actors, The Glass Menagerie portrays a family’s struggle to maintain the precarious balance between a difficult past and an uncertain future, exploring the bonds of family, the weight of memory, and the force of loss.

William’s bittersweet semi-autobiographical account of his coming of age in 1930’s St. Louis is told from the perspective of his literary surrogate, Tom Wingfield, who serves as both narrator and the lens through which we experience the Wingfield’s plight. His dilemma forms the central conflict of the play as he faces the agonizing choice between responsibility for his family and living his own life. Williams, having “a poet’s weakness for symbols,” fills the play with imagery: the glass menagerie, in its fragility and delicate beauty, is a symbol for Laura; the fire escape is most closely linked to Tom and to the theme of escape; even the theme of memory is important. For Amanda, memory is her anchor, her escape into a kinder, gentler time. For Tom, the older Tom who narrates the events of the play, memory is the thing that cannot be escaped.

Ambien Mitchell, Janis Stevens, and Dustin Tucker as the Wingfield Family

TAM’s Associate Artistic Director and veteran company member Bill Van Horn takes on the role of director for this classic American drama. A fixture at TAM since 2001, Bill also frequently acts, directs, and writes for Pennsylvania’s acclaimed Walnut Street Theater. “What elevates The Glass Menagerie from mere confessional to great art,” Van Horn states, “is the probing honesty, deep understanding, and loving tenderness with which Williams creates and caresses these four characters as they reach for happiness.” The Glass Menagerie features Dustin Tucker as Tom, Janis Stevens as Amanda, Ambien Mitchell as Laura, and Camden Brown as Jim. Set design by Dan Bilodeau, costumes by Jonna Klaiber, sound by Rew Tippen, and lights by Lynne Chase.

Written in 1943, The Glass Menagerie was William’s second play to be produced and the first of a series of successes, including Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics’ Award winners A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). Williams is acknowledged today as one of the most accomplished playwrights in the history of English speaking theatre.

Evening performances
July 19, 20, August 1, 4, 8, 10 & 18 at 7:30 p.m.;
August 5 at 7 p.m. followed by a post-show discussion

Matinee performances
July 21, 28, 29, & August 15 at 1:00 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $10-$28. For calendar and reservations, please contact the TAM Box Office at 207.933.9999 or visit www.theateratmonmouth.org.