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Phoenix Players to present 'Glass Menagerie'

10/8/2014

The Cumberland University Phoenix Players will present “Glass Menagerie” at the June and Bill Heydel Fine Arts Center this week on campus.

A memory play in two acts by Tennessee Williams, will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., with a Sunday presentation that will start at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

The production is directed by Larry “Doc” Menefee; produced through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., and Grace Menefee will accompany the cast on classical guitar.

Playing the mother, Amanda Wingfield is Samantha Roddam. Kayla Rice portrays the daughter, Laura Wingfield. Wesley Simmons plays the son, Tom Wingfield and the gentleman caller, Jim O’Connor, is portrayed by Larry Davis.

In a synopsis of  “The Glass Menagerie,” Amanda Wingfield is a faded, tragic remnant of Southern gentility, who lives in a dingy St. Louis apartment with her son, Tom, and her daughter, Laura. Amanda strives to give meaning and direction to her life and the lives of her children, though her methods are ineffective and irritating.

Tom is driven nearly to distraction by his mother’s nagging and seeks escape in alcohol and the world of movies. Laura also lives in her illusions. She is crippled and this defect, intensified by her mother’s anxiety to see her married, has driven her more and more into herself.

The crux of the action comes when Tom invites a young man of his acquaintance to take dinner with the family. Jim, the caller, is a nice ordinary fellow who is at once pounced upon by Amanda as a possible husband for Laura. In spite of her crude and obvious efforts to entrap the young man, he and Laura manage to get along nicely, and momentarily Laura is lifted out of herself into a new world.

But, this crashes when Jim explains he is already engaged. The world of illusion Amanda and Laura strive to create to make life bearable collapses about them. Tom, too, at the end of his tether, at last leaves home.

Christopher Byrd serves as technical assistant to theatre. For more information, he can be reached by calling 615-598-4317, or email him at cbyrd@cumberland.edu.