Fringe Theater Key West will present the Tennessee Williams classic, “The Glass Menagerie” through March 18 and March 22 to 25 in the parish hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 401 Duval St. The play is presented in conjunction with the Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration coordinated annually with the Tennessee Williams in Key West Exhibit.
“We wanted to help celebrate one of the most acclaimed playwrights in the world, who was also a Key West resident for more than 30 years,” explained Fringe Theater board president Janet Bengel. “The exhibit is loaning us one of Tennessee Williams’ typewriters. It’s one of those wonderful opportunities that a theater company has only in Key West,” she said.
Mr. Williams made his first trip to Key West around the time he began writing “The Glass Menagerie.” The play opened on Broadway in 1945 and is semi-autobiographical.
Born Thomas Lanier Williams in 1911, Mr. Williams recalled his early childhood as genteel and happy until his family moved to St. Louis. There, tensions rose as his father’s drinking increased and his sister’s mental health deteriorated. He eventually left home to pursue a career as a playwright. During his absence, his sister was subjected to a lobotomy, a common and life-debilitating mental health procedure employed at the time. He never forgave himself for leaving his sister. He wrote “The Glass Menagerie” shortly thereafter.
The play is directed by Rebecca Tomlinson and features Rebecca Gleason as the family’s matriarch, Amanda Wingfield, who struggles to provide for the financial and moral wellbeing of her children. Her daughter, Laura, is played by Lisa Elena Monda with Arthur Crocker as “the gentleman caller.” Tom, the story’s narrator and the voice of Mr. Williams himself, is played by Mathias Maloff. Unique to this production is the inclusion of a violinist, William Weinstein, who provides the musical framework for the show.
“The Glass Menagerie” is sponsored by the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. ¦