A Bare-Bones 'Glass Menagerie' by Company of Strangers
“I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion,” says the narrator, Tom, at the start of the Tennessee Williams classic The Glass Menagerie. But, as we come to learn, illusion can unleash harsh realities once uncovered.
As staged by The Company of Strangers, this bare-bones production opened last weekend under the direction of Jessica L. Sosnoski. The focus lies entirely on the underlying power of Williams’ language through the lives of four characters: domineering mother Amanda (Sandra Baker-Renick), restless son Tom (Nathanael Press), shy daughter Laura (Kimberly Laberge) and confident gentleman caller Jim (JJ Gatesman).
The cast performed well throughout, despite dropped lines. All the more impressive was understudy Laberge as the frail Laura, who jumped into the lead role at the least minute. Her performance is as delicate and fragile as her collection of glass animals. Yet Laura’s natural inner light shines through her character when given the chance, filling the darkened stage with its own gentle illumination.
Through March 4 at The Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave (lower level of Grand Avenue Mall). For tickets and further information, visit thecompanyofstrangerstheater.com.