Rehearsals are underway for La Boite’s new production of Tennessee Williams’ classic and most loved play, The Glass Menagerie, directed by David Berthold (Holding the Man, As You Like It) playing at the Roundhouse Theatre from 3 to 31 August.
The Glass Menagerie tells the story of the pathetically shy Laura Wingfield and her domineering mother Amanda − one of the greatest roles of the American theatre – who is determined to marry her off. Tom, the feisty narrator, works in a shoe factory to support the family but dreams of life as a poet. Hounded by his mother, he finds Laura a ‘gentleman caller’ to bring it all to a breathtaking head.
Director David Berthold said that although the play is a classic ‘memory play’, it has surprising new resonance for modern audiences.
“This play speaks very directly to us, with enormous heart, wit and insight,” Mr Berthold said. “We all have dreams. We all feel frustrated from time to time. Most of us have mothers. Most of us exist in families. We all want to be loved.”
“What’s the old adage? Treat new plays like classics and classics like new plays. I like that. We’ve treated this as if it were a new play, and it has constantly surprised us.”
Matilda Award winner Helen Howard (Holding the Man, As You Like It) will step into the demanding role of Amanda Wingfield. Caroline Kennison, originally cast in this production, is unfortunately unable to continue with The Glass Menagerie due to serious, but non life-threatening, side effects from her recent aggressive chemotherapy treatment.
“We are all saddened at Caroline’s withdrawal, but of course we all understand that her health is the most important consideration,” Mr Berthold said. “We know that she will recover in good time, and wish her all the very best. Helen very generously agreed to take over this great role, and we know that she will shine.”
Kathryn Marquet (Ruben Guthrie, Faustus, La Boite Playright-in-Residence) will play Laura Wingfield. Jason Klarwein moves from Bell Shakespeare’s Henry IV to take on the role of Tom, while Julian Curtis has returned home from Los Angeles to play the gentleman caller.
The Glass Menagerie also features an eye-popping ’70’s inspired design by Penny Challen, and an original score by composer Gordon Hamilton, Artistic Director of The Australian Voices, Australia’s leading vocal ensemble fresh from tours in the USA, Europe and China.