Wednesday, 27 September 2023
The Glass Menagerie
2-7 October 2023 at 7.30pm
Tickets: £11/ £9
A play by Tennessee Williams
Director: Mike Bellenie
If ever a play has catapulted a writer from obscurity to greatness, it is The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, which is being performed at Hebden Bridge Little Theatre from 2-7 October.
But this production, directed by Mike Bellenie, has some major differences from the 1944 premier which kickstarted the career of one of the foremost 20th Century American dramatists.
Unusually, Bellenie uses physical theatre in the style of Frantic Assembly, involving a lot of dance-like movement. He's also gone against the grain by dividing the part of Tom into a younger and older character.
Both changes help accentuate the central theme of this partly autobiographical "memory" play, which is different members of the fatherless Wingfield family wanting to escape the dull ritual of a life spent in a shoe-box apartment in St. Louis, Missouri.
Amanda, Tom's mother, resents him for his inability to grow up, whilst Tom resents her for the need for him to do a menial job at a shoe warehouse to support his family – when he would far rather be writing poetry. His sister Laura meanwhile lives in a fantasy world in which she is confidant to a collection of glass animals.
Mike Bellenie says, "Having an older Tom helps make it obvious it's a memory play and that it's his memory of what happened. And introducing the physicality creates an interesting way of Tom delivering the monologues. In one monologue the older and younger Tom even intertwine.
"The technical team have had a really important role as a lot of the movement is accompanied by soundtracks and enhanced lighting moments as each of the characters tries to escape their own reality."
A talented cast, including the vastly experienced Hannah Head -- who plays Amanda (see photo) -- has shaped up well and has very much bought into the style required.
Hannah Head says "I love Tennessee Williams's plays, and I feel that the Frantic Assembly approach of this production means the lyrical nature of the language lends itself beautifully to the process. As the characters move around the stage with an undercurrent of emotive music, we hope our audiences will be truly absorbed in their story."
The Hebden Bridge Little Theatre is a small, dynamic and welcoming theatre group, producing consistently high-quality drama. Each year it presents a programme of five plays, which seeks to appeal to all tastes.
Performances of The Glass Menagerie are on Monday to Saturday, 2nd-7th October 2023, at 7.30pm.
Get your tickets now, online here or in person, at Innovation, Hebden Bridge.