Amanda Wingfield, played by Amy Hoke, berates her son Tom, played by Adam Sechelski, in a rehearsal for "The Glass Menagerie," presented by the New Depot Players. Also in the play are Avery Reagan as daughter Laura Wingfield and Paul Hathorn as Jim, her suitor.
New Depot Players present an American classic, "The Glass Menagerie"
The New Depot Players latest production, "The Glass Menagerie," may not be the happiest of stories but there's no denying that this close study of a dysfunctional family is compelling, said director Kelley Whitmire.
Whitmore, who directed the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" for the New Depot Players last summer, said the play is a serious change of pace for him.
"I think it's a challenging piece of theater. The language, the dialogue is incredibly well written. There's a reason it's considered an American classic," Whitmire said.
Written by Tennessee Williams in 1944, the play centers on Amanda Wingfield, a former Southern Belle whose husband abandoned her with their two young children.
"As a single mother, you can't always be prosperous, so she fell on hard times and continues to relive her past and the fantasy of what could have been," Whitmire said.
The story takes place when Amanda's children are grown and she is struggling to find a husband for her daughter Laura, who is disabled and very much an introvert.
Amanda chides her son Tom, who works in a warehouse to support the family, into helping her. He brings home a co-worker, Jim, to meet Laura. At first it appears the couple has potential, until Jim confesses he already has a fiance.
Tom is chastised by his mother for Jim's actions. Finally, Tom can no longer take his mother's rantings and moves out, leaving his mother and sister to fend for themselves.
"It's a pretty dark play. It isn't a pretty picture of this family. It isn't a feel good show. It's a really intimate portrait of a family who has hit hard times and who is trying to come to grips with it," said Whitmire.
"You see how they really interact with each other and the dirt that is down there."
While the play takes place in the 1940s and some of the content is dated, the overarching message is relatable to any generation, Whitmire said.
"One of the main themes of the play is remembering your past when the world was your oyster and now you realize that maybe it's not," he said.
"The Glass Menagerie" runs at 8 p.m. March 1-3 and 8-10 and at 3 p.m. March 4 and 11 at Center Street Arts, 910 Center St.Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and $12 for students. Tickets for a preview night on Feb. 29 at 8 p.m. are $10.
Whitmire said the New Depot Players chose the "The Glass Menagerie" because the community theater group wants to include more serious works among their musicals and comedies.
"What we're trying to do with the New Depot Players is bring the quality of the subject matter up to a higher level," said Whitmire.
When they come to see "The Glass Menagerie," audiences should be prepared for a stark story with riveting characters.
"It's a show for people who love good acting," said Whitmire.