Tennesee Williams Refresher

Last night, I went to the Vermont Stage Company’s preview of their production of Tennesee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie”

It’s always a risk for a theater company to put on a production of a play we’ve all read, watched or performed in high school or college. But I’m grateful for Vermont Stage for putting this on, because the performance is such a great reminder of the genius of playwrights like Williams.

And thank GAWD Vermont Stage is much better than some productions of Williams that have gone on out there.

I love how Williams dovetails a small detailed thread running through the play with the major point of the production.

In it, Laura the shy, nervous sister, acts out a fantasy world with her glass menagerie, her collection of little glass figurines.

Meanwhile, her mother, Amanda, tries to stage manager Laura’s life, and less successfully, her son Tom’s life into a fantasy of her own. Both fantasies shatter, to the benefit of Laura and the disappointment of Amanda.

There’s much, much more to “A Glass Menagerie” than I describe, which is obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with Williams.

But seeing the play was a reminder to me that we can’t let other people try to limit us. And more important, we can’t let ourselves limit us.

See, even something as familiar as “The Glass Menagerie” can remind you of what’s important. Or at least it does for this theater novice.

The Glass Menagerie runs at the Flynn Space in downtown Burlington through Oct. 24.

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