Senior directs ‘The Glass Menagerie’

Theater major Catherine Tooke presented her senior directorial project, Tennessee Williams’ memory play “The Glass Menagerie,” on Dec. 4 and 5 in the black box theater at Babcock Fine Arts Center.

The play tells the story of the Wingfield family — the mother Amanda, son Tom and daughter Laura, who is crippled and withdrawn into herself. Amanda, a faded Southern belle whose husband has long since abandoned the family, is anxious for a suitor for her daughter.

Her hopes are raised when Tom brings home a young man, Jim, who spends a long evening with Laura and temporarily brings her out of her shell. But Jim reveals he is already engaged to another woman. Her illusions of hope crushed, Amanda lashes out at Tom, who leaves home.

In Tooke’s production, Tom recalls the story set over his living room, watching everything play out again. This, she says, makes it more personal and intimate. And because the audience hears the story as Tom perceived it, it “allows for aspects of this piece to not be completely realistic. Amanda can be a little larger than life, the set a little blurry.”

Tooke writes in her director’s notes, “Since, in reality, there is no such thing as an unbiased narrator we can choose to either believe Tom completely or wonder how much of his story is tainted by his own frustrations, or guilt.

“Being semiautobiographical, ‘The Glass Menagerie’ also allows us to take a look into Tennessee Williams’ life and his feelings towards his family. When researching his life the therapeutic nature of this play becomes obvious. Also, because of how close this story was to Tennessee Williams, the audience can relate to it on a much more personal level, making it a timeless classic.”

Tooke’s cast was made up of Tyler Turner as Tom, Kat Alexander ’11 as Amanda, Laura Russell Wheatley ’11 as Laura and Derek Cooper as Jim.