October 11, 2012
BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – Dr. Calvin McClinton, the new director of musical theatre for the Lake Michigan College Theatre Department, has chosen The Glass Menagerie as his opening act for LMC. Performance dates are November 8, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on Sunday, November 11, at 3 p.m. in the Hanson Theatre of the LMC Mendel Center for Arts & Technology located on the Napier Avenue campus.
Written by Tennessee Williams and set in the ghetto of St. Louis in the late 1930s, some believe The Glass Menagerie to be a biographical script as Thomas, the name of the lead character, is also Williams true first name and many of the characters are said to reflect those in William’s family. The Glass Menagerie opened in Chicago in 1944. It then moved to Broadway where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle award in 1945.
Considered one of “the greatest of all American plays,” The Glass Menagerie has a small ensemble of cast members including Amanda, played by Meghan Pelkey of St. Joseph, who is a faded Southern belle abandoned by her husband. She has had great difficulty raising her two children alone during America’s Great Depression. Though a strong woman, she is over-bearing and over-protective. She wants her children to have the life of comfort she remembers from her childhood.
Her unrealistic dreams are felt most heavily by her daughter Laura, played by Megan Corey of Dowagiac. Laura is Tom’s older sister, but a childhood illness has left her crippled and this coupled with her extreme shyness causes her to isolate herself from the outside world – creating her own world through a collection of glass figurines.
Amanda fights this isolation in search of the perfect suitor for her while Tom, played by Ryan Bassett of Dowagiac, is sole supporter of his family. Though employed by a shoe company, Tom’s true dream and desire is to write poetry and see the world.
When reality becomes too much for him, Tom escapes through movies and local bar hops. But the burden of his family keeps his dreams in check. He, unlike his father, could never abandon them. And though he tries to forget his father, he is ever present as his photo remains prominently displayed in the living room. When Tom brings a co-worker played by Scott Burnett of St. Joseph, home for dinner one evening, they all dare to hope their secret dreams will become realities.
McClinton chose this piece because it resonate several themes; responsibility, abandonment, and illusions of reality that are paramount to the rebuilding of our nation and society, especially in a time of economic and social upheaval. The Wingfield family is very much like our nation, holding onto a past that has quickly faded because of changing times and technology. Glass Menagerie presents hope to a world, who chooses to be a leader and not an enabler, a world that believes in the power of self, the spirit of creativity and individuality. As a symbol, Glass Menagerie inspires us to remember our past, while living in the present and therefore securing our future.
The stage crew includes Kili Goodrich (Dowagiac), assistant director; Rebecca Bannan (Baroda), properties mistress; Brionna Church (Coloma), costumer; Zechariah Glass (Coloma), lighting technician; Charles Rumley (Hartford), sound and special affects; and Kyra Utroske (Benton Harbor) production assistant. Running crew includes Chris James (Stevensville), Danielle Babcock (St. Joseph), Katie Nelson (St. Joseph), Losetta Young (Benton Harbor), and Justin Stanton.
Tickets for The Glass Menagerie are available through the LMC Mendel Center Box Office by calling (269) 927-1221, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the door one hour before each performance. General admission is $7.00, student and senior citizens $5.00, and groups of 20 or more are $4.00 each. For more information regarding this production please call Dr. Calvin McClinton at (269) 927-8627.