The dysfunctional Wingfields revisited

The Last Menagerie

Written and Directed by David Vining, with additional text by Karen Grenke, Andrew Hurley, Aaron Pierce, and Seana Lee Wyman
Cagey Productions & HERE
The Dorothy B. Williams Theater, HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue (647-0202)
Non-union production (closes Feb. 11. Call for schedules)
Review by Jillian Perlberger

The characters in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie are given an epilogue, and a chance to revisit the past, in this speculation on their lives after the last curtain of that classic play of family tension and tragic disappointment. The show's narrator is Tom Wingfield. who purports to tell his story subsequent to the events of the Williams play. But since he and the other characters mostly reenacted and commented on (through monologues to the audience) scenes from the original play, this other story was never really told; in fact, the effect of this show was to diminish, rather than enlarge upon, the Williams play, since it is based on the assumption that Williams's poetry cannot stand on its own but needs to be rehashed and analyzed to be fully understood.

The actors (Karen Grenke, Andrew Hurley, Aaron Pierce, and Seana Lee Wyman) were uniformly strong, and gave performances that were as watchable as could be hoped for, given that what they had to do and say was less than compelling, occasionally repetitive, and at times even irritating. Odd directorial choices, and choices as to lighting, were made throughout. For instance, characters adopted stylized poses or repeated stylized movements or retreated to milkcrates at the back of the stage, and oppressive red, green, and blue lighting alternately flooded the stage, which all seemed less evocative than it was probably intended to be.

Box Score_:

Writing: 1

Directing: 1

Performing: 2

Set: 1

Costumes: 1

Lighting/Sound: 1

Copyright 2001 Jillian Perlberger