Live performances are still a thing right now – and beautiful ones are happening right in our backyard in the Theatre Rocks! production of “The Glass Menagerie.” The American classic written by Tennessee Williams and directed by Bill Rhoten runs one more weekend at the intimate theatre in Ennis.
The exquisitely written memory play is introduced to the audience by Tom Wingfield (Ben Rosewell of Waxahachie), as he recalls – perhaps not quite accurately – interactions between himself, his mother Amanda (Sheryl Sullivan of Frisco), his sister Laura (Madeleine Makay of Waxahachie) and a gentleman caller (Andrew Williams of Red Oak).
Sullivan is fantastic as the very chatty faded Southern belle who is obsessed with finding a suitor for her incredibly shy daughter, whose childhood bout with pleurosis left her with a limp. Sullivan’s ramblings about her own youthful popularity and her effervescent sales phone calls are incredibly entertaining.
Both Sullivan and Rosewell are familiar faces at Theatre Rocks!, and the two are superb at building the tension between their characters on stage. Rosewell labors at a warehouse to support his family, but he tires of his mother’s constant chatter and longs to leave the misery of their modest apartment. He caves to his mother’s desire for Laura to have a gentleman caller and invites an acquaintance, Jim O’Connor, home for dinner.
Makay hits the nail on the head portraying the mental fragility of Laura, as she lives in her own little world admiring her collection of glass animals and playing old records. She panics when the mystery gentleman caller turns out to be her former high school crush and is too distressed to sit down to dinner. However, Laura and Jim have a few moments alone by candlelight afterward, waiting for the electricity to be restored.
Williams was seen on the Theatre Rocks! stage this summer as the swaggering bard in “An Orphan’s Adventure.” He demonstrates his acting chops with an entirely different turn as a young man hoping to revive a bit of his former glory, as he studies radio engineering and public speaking. He encourages Laura to think better of herself, as well. What he fails to tell either Tom or Laura until late in the evening is that he is already engaged to be married.
They are a dysfunctional lot, but a blast to watch. And set designer Kelly Kovar of Ennis has created a dreamlike vision on the stage, completely appropriate to the ambiguousness of the memory play.
Due to COVID precautions, the theatre is not selling to full capacity, but there are still tickets left for this weekend. The final performances of “The Glass Menagerie” are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Theatre Rocks!, 505 N.W. Main St. in Ennis. Tickets are $15 for general adult admission, $12 for students and senior adults.
Theatre Rocks! is committed to offering this beautiful performance to as many people as possible and will offer a viewing online this weekend, as well. Tickets for live and recorded performances are available at www.theatrerocks.com.
For information or reservations, call 972-878-5126.