High School Students To See The Glass Menagerie

Fringe Theater Key West The Glass Menagerie

Thanks to private donations and a grant from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, Fringe Theater is offering special daytime performances of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, March 20-23, for selected Key West High School and Marathon High School classes.

“It’s so important to give students an opportunity to see theater,” says Janet Bengel, Fringe Theater Board President. “We also wanted to introduce students to the work of an acclaimed playwright who was a Key West resident for over 30 years.”  In fact, Tennessee Williams made his first trip to Key West around the time he began writing The Glass Menagerie.

The Glass Menagerie has enjoyed eight revivals on Broadway since it first opened in 1945. It is loosely based on William’s own coming of age story.

Tennessee Williams’ genteel and happy childhood took a turn after the family moved to St. Louis.  There, tensions rose as his father’s drinking increased and his sister’s mental health deteriorated. Tennessee eventually left home to pursue his career as a playwright. During his absence, his sister was subjected to a lobotomy, a life debilitating mental health “treatment” popular at the time.

Tennessee never forgave himself for leaving his sister.  The Glass Menagerie captures the push-pull Williams felt in trying to decide whether to stay with his family or pursue his own life.

The cast includes Rebecca Gleason as the mother who escapes into by-gone southern days with Lisa Elena Monda as the sister Laura who escapes into a world of music and glass figurines. The narrator whose memories form the basis of the play is played by Mathias Maloff. He is seeking the ultimate escape of a different life, but is plagued by the guilt of the choice. Arthur Crocker plays “the gentleman caller” who offers the opportunity for a ‘happily ever after’ ending.

Unique to this production is the inclusion of a violinist, William Weinstein, who provides the musical framework for the show.  Another unique aspect to this production is the use of Tennessee’s typewriter.  “The exhibit is loaning us one of Tennessee Williams’ typewriters,” concludes Bengel. “It’s one of those wonderful only in Key West stories!”

The Glass Menagerie is sponsored by the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy.  Performances are at 7pm through March 25 in the Parish Hall at St Paul’s Episcopal Church.  Tickets are $35 and available at www.fringetheater.org or by calling 305-731-0581.  Fringe Theater is a 501c3 and gladly accepts donations to help support its education and outreach programs.