published Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Up-close and personal with ‘The Glass Menagerie’

Matthew Mindeman, left, is Jim O’Conner and Mary Suggs is Laura Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie.”
Matthew Mindeman, left, is Jim O’Conner and Mary Suggs is Laura Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie.”
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


■ What: “The Glass Menagerie.”

■ When: 8 p.m. April 10-12, 2:30 p.m. April 13.

■ Where: St. Elmo Fire Hall, 4501 St. Elmo Ave.

■ Admission: $12 general admission, $10 students and seniors.

■ Phone: 423-987-5028.

■ Email:

■ Note: Play contains some adult language.

Back Alley Productions will present a Tennessee Williams classic, “The Glass Menagerie,” in four performances this weekend.

One of Williams’ most popular plays, the 1930s-era drama centers on Tom Wingfield, a young man in a dead-end factory job who dreams of becoming a poet. His low-wage position does little more than buy a few cigarette cartons and pay rent for a cramped apartment in St. Louis, where he, his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura, must live after they are abandoned by the family patriarch.

Restless and frustrated, Tom begins to feel the need to follow in his father’s 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 shy, crippled sister who spends more time with her collection of glass animals than with people.

Filling the roles are Jonathan Goff as Tom Wingfield, Vicki Mangieri as Amanda Wingfield, Mary Suggs as Laura Wingfield and Matthew Mindeman as Jim O’Conner.

The play will be presented in the relatively confined space of the St. Elmo Fire Hall, with seating limited to 50 people at each performance. Director Kelsea Rambin-Smith says the intimate setting works perfectly for the environment she is hoping to create.

“We want the audience to feel 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,” she says. “Watching a drama unfold on a stage far away 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.”

The show lasts about two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.

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