Posted at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 13, 2016
Fall play explores escapism
Play delves into relations to past, future
This year’s fall play is the Tennessee Williams’ play “The Glass Menagerie.”
The play is set during the Great Depression in the 1930s and revolve around a family of three: the mother, Amanda Wingfield; her son, Tom; and daughter, Laura.
“The play is somewhat autobiographical by the playwright Tennessee Williams,” said Jason Pasqua, LCCC theater instructor.
Tom works at a warehouse to support his family, but he has aspirations to travel and be a writer. Amanda, the matriarch of the family, moves the family to St. Louis from the south. Laura is painfully shy, cannot hold a job, or be in public, and has a little bit of a limp when she walks.
“We meet the family at a time when Tom and his desire to get out has reached a boiling point,” Pasqua said.
The play centers around how the family is going to be OK financially. A plan is hatched by Amanda and Tom to bring a gentleman caller to the house, someone who can marry Laura.
The problem is that Laura is painfully shy, and lives in a world of her own, in particular with little glass animals she collects.
The gentleman caller turns out to not be who we thought he was and the family falls apart.
The themes of “The Glass Menagerie” are of escapism, what is and what should be our relationship to the past, and how that effects the way we see ourselves in the future.
“Tom is the narrator in the play. Tom is the one who is future-focused. Amanda is past focused but has an eye toward the future. Laura exists in the present,” Pasqua said.
The play is relevant to modern audiences today in that the play is about class in America.
“Tom has a monologue where he talks about a longing for adventure and a longing to get out. He says ‘whenever there’s a war, that’s the chance for adventure to come to the masses,’ to regular people,” Pasqua said.
The play is a snapshot of time in which Tom, in his monologues, makes connections to the wider world. Tom is a character who Pasqua describes as inside the play but outside time.
“I chose the play, as the head of the theater program, because I wanted a new challenge for myself and the students,” Pasqua said.
LCCC specializes in doing contemporary plays that are less than a year old. Plays that are so new that Pasqua is able to talk to the playwright. Pasqua wanted to do the play because he knew that he had the cast members to do it and that there was a need to expose the students to great literature.
“You can’t do much better than Tennessee Williams,” Pasqua said.
Casting for the show was on Aug. 30 and started with read-throughs and blocking for the play.
“I am the type of director that encourages actors’ need to come up with their own idea for the character,” Pasqua said. “We work together to look at the given circumstances of the play and what we hope to accomplish and make choices within that boundary of reason.”
Christian Borgaard (playing Tom) performing at a dress rehearsal.
Pasqua said that boiling it down to a science is a hard thing to do when he chose these actors.
Sometimes it has to do with age, he said.
Amanda is played by Patricia Marino. “Marino is a student in her 60s and she is right for mom,” Pasqua said.
Tom is played by Christian Borgaard.
“Tom’s relationship with his mother is a primary thing.
Borgaard’s ability and max ability is something that I saw in auditions that spoke to me,” Pasqua said.
The gentleman caller is played by Jessey Govig.
“Govig has a certain look and quality about him that lent itself well to the role.”
Laura is played by Michelle Barlow.
“Barlow, in auditions, captured Laura’s innocent and her shyness.”
“All of these things are vast over-simplifications. Sometimes you see something and you know how that’s going to blend in the mix,” Pasqua said.
The play opens at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 10. Additional performances are scheduled for Nov. 11-12 and Nov. 17 through Nov. 19 in the LCCC Playhouse. General Admission is $10. Tickets are free to students.