There is a reason that Tennessee Williams is one of the most brilliant playwrights of the 20th century. His characters are so human, full of the same experiences, joys and mistakes that we all go through in life.
This weekend, I saw a revival of The Glass Menagerie starring Cherry Jones.
The Glass Menagerie is the story of a family living in the midwest during the 1930’s. Amanda Wingfield is a single mother living with her adult children, Tom (Zachary Quinto) and Laura (Celia Keenan-Bolger). Tom is working at a local factory and frequently argues with his mother. Laura is walks with a limp and only socializes with her mother and brother, suffering from anxiety attacks if she has to socialize with anyone else.
Amanda is determined to bring in gentleman callers for her daughter and fondly remembers her youth and the gentleman callers she used to entertain. When Tom bring in a gentleman caller (Brian J Smith) home for dinner, a slim chance of happiness and marital bliss appears for Laura, only for it to be smashed into tiny pieces by the end of the play.
Tennessee Williams is one of my favorite playwrights. I love Streetcar Named Desire, it’s one of the most brilliant plays ever written, Blanche Bubois is hands down one of the great characters ever created. The same themes of reality vs. fantasy, the dream like memories of the past vs. the rough and not so nice present appear in both plays.
Cherry Jones is a wonder in this part. I saw her a few years ago in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. She blew me away then and she blew me away this weekend. Zachary Quinto and Celia Keenan-Bolger as her children seem on stage as if they are really siblings, instead of actors pretending to be siblings. Brian J Smith as the gentleman caller gives the audience hope that Laura may find the happiness that both she and her mother want to have.
The play closes on February 23rd. If you have the opportunity to get tickets, I highly recommend this show.
Earlier this year, noted playright Richard Greenberg introduced audiences to his new play “The Assembled Parties“.
The play takes place in a 14 room apartment on Central Park West belonging on the Bascovs, a secular Jewish family. Julie (Jessica Hecht) is married to Ben (Jonathan Walker). They have two sons, 20 something Scott (Jake Silberman) and preschooler Timmmy (Jake Silbermann as the adult Timmy and Alex Dreier as the young Timmy).
Its Christmas Day, invited for dinner is Scott’s friend, Jeff (Jeremy Shamos), Ben’s sister Faye (Judith Light), her husband Mort (Mark Blum) and their daughter Shelley (Lauren Blumenfeld). The first act is set in 1980, the second act is set in 2000.
Vying for the best and funniest lines are Hecht and Light. In the second act, Shamos is the steady head in between these two women.
The cast is very good and very funny. I cannot say the same for the play.
The plot is thin, the departure of several characters within the second act is barely explained. By the end of the play I found myself asking questions that were unanswered by the final curtain call.
Not one of the better plays I have seen.
Talley’s Folley is a one act, two character play set in Lebanon Missouri, 1944 in a dilapidated Victoria era boathouse. Written by the late Lanford Wilson, it is about an immigrant attempting to rekindle a romance with a woman fighting her own insecurities.
It is in short, one of the most brillant, simplest, well done plays I have ever seen.
Salley Talley (Sarah Paulson) is the daughter of an old money Missouri family. At age 31, she is presently single with little hope of marriage. Matt Friedman (Danny Burstein) is 42 and a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Europe. They had a brief romance the year before, Matt has returned to Lebanon to extend the relationship.
Their chemistry is just palpable. These are two damaged people, finding a refuge from their pasts in each other.
I didnt expect this play to be as brillant as it is, but it blew me away. Good writing, whether it is a book, a movie or a play stays with you, this play will stay with me for a long time.