The Glass Menagerie

“The Glass Menagerie”  – Max Ryan and Bianca Jaconnety are siblings Tom and Laura Wingfield in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale production of Tennessee Williams’ play, “The Glass Menagerie.”  (Photo provided)  

September 15, 2011

McLeod Theater features ‘Glass Menagerie’

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “The Glass Menagerie,” the haunting Tennessee Williams play, opens the 2011-2012 season at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McLeod Theater.

The play runs Sept. 29-Oct. 2, with performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for Sunday, which is a 2 p.m. matinee. 

The play, which is sometimes considered autobiographical, follows the memories of a young would-be writer, Tom, who chooses to leave behind his mother and sister as he escapes the grind of a life bearing him down for a new chance in the Merchant Marine.  A collection of glass animals takes on symbolic significance in the story, as sickly Laura sees her hopes rise and fall as her own chance for a start, in the person of a high school crush, comes calling.

Williams based the play on one of his short stories.  Many consider it one of his finest works.  The play asks the audience to consider family structure, individualism and personal responsibilities against a dreamy, memory-hazed story.

The McLeod Theater production, directed by Susan Patrick Benson, assistant professor at SIUC in the Department of Theater, also features Lori Merrill-Fink, theater faculty and director of the University Honors Program, as the overbearing matriarch, Amanda.

SIUC students round out the cast, with Bianca Jaconetty (Chicago) as fragile Laura; Max Ryan (Gurnee) as Tom, narrator and memory-holder; and Robert Price (Glen Carbon) as Jim, the gentleman caller and former classmate.

Heidi Larson, Department of Theater teaching assistant, designed the sets; teaching assistant Bevin Miyake handled the lighting, and costumes are by Stephi Molitor, also a teaching assistant.

Tickets are $16 for adults, and $6 for students.  Tickets are available in advance at the McLeod Theater box office or at Shryock Auditorium during business hours, by phone at 618/453-6000, or at  Tickets are also available at Walker’s Bluff, Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m., or beginning one hour before each performance at McLeod Theater.