What does “The Glass Menagerie” mean to you as an artist?
“I wish I had a better answer than this, but I really just love it. I think it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of storytelling, with a simple plot that’s brought to life by complex characters. It’s my kind of show, the kind that appeals to me as both an audience member and a performer, and obviously as a director.”
What do you feel was the message Williams was trying to convey to the world in writing this piece?
“Well, this is his autobiography of sorts. I think this is the most specific he’s been in terms of putting himself into his work. There are always notes of growing up in the south, and kind of certain themes that he follows, but I think this is the script in which he is truly divulging his own story. Of course, it’s theatrical and gorgeous and poetic, but I also think it’s the most honest.”
Is there any specific message you want to convey to the audience that will see this show at the Theatre Company of Saugus?
“The audience is going to see four people who are flawed, and who make mistakes, and who don’t always say or do the right thing, but what I want the audience to realize is that there is always another side to the story. It’s easy to judge other people’s behavior that we deem as wrong or negative, but we have no idea what their journey is. These characters are really easy to dislike at times, but the challenge is to shape them well enough that the audience says, ‘Sure, he or she is a mess, but I get it. I see it. I know what happened.’ Everybody has another side to the story. We’re all just doing the best we can, and I think we all need to grant people a little more grace. You never know what’s going on with somebody until you know.”
There is a lot of symbolism written into this piece. How do you intend on communicating that to the audience?
“I think that it’s important to never underestimate your audience, so I don’t plan on beating them over the head with anything, but I do think we have sculpted moments within the performances that illustrate a lot of the metaphors.”
How can you relate to this play, both professionally and personally?
“Professionally, I just love Tennessee Williams. My dream role is Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, so I was excited to be able to work on a Williams piece in any capacity. Personally, as I’ve said, I think it’s an important piece of theatre in terms of being a great lesson in sympathy if not empathy.”
Do you have any previous theatre experience that has gotten you ready to direct this classic piece?
“I just graduated from a conservatory program as an acting major, so I’ve been living and breathing and eating theatre for quite a while. I’m in a very good head space to be at the helm of a show that I believe in and want to bring to life.”
How do you feel about the Theatre Company of Saugus? Do you have any history with the company?
“I’m relatively new to TCS, but I played Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet last summer. I think they put on great work, and I’m excited to bring in some new talented players and hopefully expand the audience a bit.”
How has the process been thus far, working with your cast and crew?
“This is my debut as a director, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about the ensemble I have around me. My production team has been incredibly reliable and supportive, and I have a group of all-stars in terms of actors. Besides just being so, so talented, they’re intelligent and passionate about the project, which makes all of the discussions and conversations that go into building a show really lovely and worthwhile. They’ve created enough of a foundation that I can go in and shape and tweak and play, which is thrilling for me, and they’re all so receptive and willing. I’m love all of them.”
Do you have a certain vision for how you want to see this piece performed, in terms of staging?
“I’m thrilled by how we’re using the space, utilizing the floor of the theater as though it were the floor of the Wingfield’s apartment, and kind of letting the audience border these people’s small living space. I hope the audience feels really connected and immersed.”