Back Alley To Present The Glass Menagerie At St. Elmo Fire Hall April 10-13

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Matthew Mindeman as Jim O'Conner and Mary Suggs as Laura Wingfield
Matthew Mindeman as Jim O'Conner and Mary Suggs as Laura Wingfield

Back Alley Productions will present The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams at the St. Elmo Fire Hall, 4501 St. Elmo Ave. Performances are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, April 10, 11 and 12, at 8 p.m. with a Sunday, April 13, matinee at 2:30 p.m.

The classic drama features actors and crew members from Chattanooga and North Georgia, including Jonathan Goff as Tom Wingfield, Vicki Mangeiri as Amanda Wingfield, Mary Suggs as Laura Wingfield and Matthew Mindeman as Jim O’Conner. The play is directed by Kelsea Rambin-Smith. 

Ms. Rambin-Smith said she was inspired to direct the play after seeing the show in New York City last October. 

“I’ve always loved Tennessee Williams and his writing,” she said. “When I saw the play come to life in New York, I knew I had to direct it myself. When the opportunity presented itself, I went for it and found a fantastic cast. They’ve really studied the script thoroughly and brought it to life. It's a dream come true for a diehard fan of the play." 

The set is designed for an intimate viewing of the Wingfield family, Ms. Rambin-Smith said, adding that the fire hall setting works perfectly for the environment she is hoping to create.

"We want the audience to fill like they are flies on the wall of the Wingfield apartment in St. Louis, up close to the tension and the fights, the laughter and the crying,” said Ms. Rambin-Smith. “Watching a drama unfold on a stage faraway can sometimes remove an audience from the setting. By putting the play in this intimate setting, we will enhance the story and the emotion behind our characters.”

One of Williams’ most popular plays, The Glass Menagerie tells of Tom Wingfield, a young man in the late 1930s who dreams of becoming a poet and is frustrated with his dead-end factory job, a low-wage position that does little more than buy a few cigarette cartons and pay rent to a cramped apartment in St. Louis. That’s where Tom, his mother Amanda and sister Laura must live after the family is abandoned by Tom’s father.

Restless and frustrated, Tom begins to feel the need to follow in his fathers footsteps and leave his family — but Amanda, whose Southern ways clash with Tom’s standoffish nature, asks Tom to find a suitor for Laura, his incredibly shy sister who is crippled and who spends more time with her glass animals collection than with people.  

“It’s a beautifully-written story that resonates with so many people,” Ms. Rambin-Smith said. “It’s had a resurgence in popularity lately, but isn’t playing anywhere nearby — so it makes it the perfect time for fans to come out and return to the Wingfield apartment, as well as anyone who's never seen Williams’ classic before.”

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors. There is some adult language in the production. Call 987-5028 or email backalleyperfmances@gmail.com for ticket reservations and more information.  

Seating is limited to 50 people a night and will be offered on a first come, first serve basis. The show is expected to run roughly two hours long with a 15 minute intermission.

Mary Suggs with Vicki Mangieri as Amanda Wingfield
Mary Suggs with Vicki Mangieri as Amanda Wingfield

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