TENNESSEE Williams’ most powerful and haunting play The Glass Menagerie is being staged at the Old Mill Theatre this September.
Directed by Susie Conte, the classic American drama is a stirring portrait of a family that struggles with the past, future – and each other.
Amanda Wingfield desperately struggles to provide her fragile daughter with at least one “gentleman caller” while her son Tom dreams of escaping his job at a warehouse and oppressive life at home.
The semi-autobiographical play is filtered through Tom’s memory, reflecting on the glories of times past with echoes of loneliness, fragility and innocent hope.
The Glass Menagerie was Williams’ first successful play, catapulting him to the forefront of American theatre with other works such as A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
“While it first appeared on stage more than 60 years ago, the play’s themes continue to resonate with today’s audiences,” Conte said.
“Balancing family duty and self-exploration, overcoming anxiety and an overbearing parent are timeless issues that certainly carry over to the 21st century.
“The Glass Menagerie is renowned because the story examines the universal conflict between the right and wrong pathways we all must walk, not by choice, but by necessity and circumstance.
“It’s not a tragedy of heroes or villains but of all the individuals in the story who must make their own paths.”
With an extensive background as an actor and director, Conte has appeared in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth and The Tempest, Oh What A Lovely War and The Misanthrope at the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
She directed The Vagina Monologues at the Subiaco Arts Centre in 2010 and worked as assistant director and stage manager for Ghosts at the same venue before directing Plaza Suite at the Old Mill Theatre in late 2012.
Last year, Conte scored numerous awards for her production of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter and was responsible for the well-received Fifteen Minute Hamlet at Fringe World.
“The Glass Menagerie appealed because I really wanted to highlight the characters who, although desperate, are longing to accomplish something,” she said.
“It’s a very strong exploration of a family fighting to maintain itself – you often see the ferocity but underneath is a love holding them together which is twice as strong.”
The Glass Menagerie plays at 8pm, September 6, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20 with a 2pm matinee September 14. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book at http://oldmilltheatre.com.au/tickets or on 9367 8719.
The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).
glass1&3: Aisling McGrogan is playing Laura in The Glass Menagerie at the Old Mill Theatre.
glass2: Maree Grayden and Aisling McGrogan play mother and daughter Amanda and Laura Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie.
Old Mill Theatre
of one of the most historic buildings in South Perth. It was opened in 1899 as a Mechanics' Institute Hall. The South Perth Council purchased the building in 1913 and renamed it the Mends Street Hall. The council still owns the building, and supports our use of it.
The building first became a home of theatre in 1948, when the South Perth Dramatic Society moved in. The name Old Mill Theatre was first used in 1958, and the company was incorporated in 1959. In 2009, the theatre celebrated its 60th anniversary.
A number of significant changes to the building have occurred over the past few years, with major extensions completed in 2002. An understage tunnel, which links two backstage dressing rooms and enables easier access from one side of the stage to the other, was completed in 2008. Bathroom facilities have also been installed backstage as part of this project, which was wholly self-funded.
The Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to have strong support from its local council, the City of South Perth. The city undertook major renovations to the exterior of the building in 2008 and the theatre is looking better now than ever before.
P: 0425 866 894