by Shaina Blakesley
As the weekend approaches, you are dreading doing the same thing you did last weekend and probably most weekends before that. You can break that cycle and head to the Hole in the Wall Theater to watch “The Glass Menagerie.”
“The Glass Menagerie” is a memory play written by Tennessee Williams which first premiered in Chicago in 1944. The play has a strong autobiographical air to it and consists of characters based on Williams himself, his melodramatic mother and his mentally fragile sister, Rose.
A few critics helped the play gain its success and land on Broadway where it won the accolade of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1945.
Meet the Characters:
Matthew Cote plays the narrator and protagonist, Tom Wingfield. The play is based on Wingfield’s memory, so he cautions the audience to believe the validity of the recollections. He wants to be a poet, but wastes his day at a shoe factory. Tom drowns his sorrow with nightly excursions to local bars—with the implications that he is having secret sexual encounters with men.
Lisa DeAngelis plays Tom’s older sister, Laura Wingfield, who has a delicate psychological state of mind. A childhood illness left Laura debilitated and with a limp. Her vulnerabilities, including an inferiority complex, isolate her from the outside world. She collects glass figurines; her favorite is a unicorn that symbolizes her uniqueness and fragility.
Teresa Langston plays Tom’s and Laura’s mother, Amanda Wingfield. Amanda was a southern belle abandoned by her husband and left to take care of their two children alone and under financial stress. She longs to have all the freedoms that come with youth, and her devotion to her children makes her almost hateful toward them.
Reid Sinclair plays Jim O’Connor: an old high school friend of Tom and Laura. In high school, Jim was a popular athlete and actor, but subsequent years weren’t as kind to him. He works as a shipping clerk with Tom at the shoe factory. He hopes to shine again and his role model is Dale Carnegie, a writer and lecturer who developed classes for self-improvement, public speaking and interpersonal skills.
Meet the Actors:
Matthew Cote, who plays Tom Wingfield, is a native of New Britain. He has been a part of several productions hosted by the Hole in the Wall Theater. His first show was “The Crucible,” directed by Kelley Mountzoures. Cote was living in New York when he abruptly quit his job and came back home.
“I happened to see auditions for “The Glass Menagerie” and I was like, ‘Oh, wow, this is my favorite show of all time.’ So, I came through, auditioned and I’m super glad I got the part. I moved back home for the winter and now I’m doing this, and I love it,” Cote said in an interview with Warren Dutkiewicz for the Hole in the Wall Theater.
Teresa Langston, who plays Amanda Wingfield, is a freelance web-developer when she isn’t acting. For as long as she could remember, she has always loved acting. Her love flourished from her amazing mentor, Richard Sterner, when she was a student at East Hartford High School. She auditioned for “The Glass Menagerie” because playing Amanda Wingfield was on her bucket list.
Langston says she loves not only acting, but the whole process as well.
“I mean, putting the show up is kind of an adrenaline high. It’s like nothing else. It’s like, if you’re an athlete, then you train and you train and you train. Then you run the race. The show is the race. If you don’t love the training, you’re not going to be an athlete,” Langston stated in her interview with Dutkiewicz.
This adaptation of the “The Glass Menagerie” was directed by Steven Siemiatkoski. Siemiatkoski has been a part of the Hole in the Wall family since the 1990s when he started playing pit gigs.
“More recently, over the past few years, I have seen some truly remarkable productions here. I wanted to be part of that magic,” Siemiatkoski told Christina Giannelli about the Hole in the Wall Theater during an interview when he was part of the “Sylvia” cast.
“The Glass Menagerie” premiered Jan. 19. Performances will run Friday and Saturday nights through Feb. 10. On Sunday, Jan. 28, the play will have a performance at a 2 p.m. matinee. There is also a showing on Friday, Jan. 26 on a special “Pay What You Can” night.
General admission is $20; tickets cost $15 for students with IDs and seniors aged 62+. Reservations can be made by leaving a message at 860-229-3049. Tickets can be purchased at the Hole in the Wall Theater website. The Hole in the Wall Theater is located at 116 Main Street in New Britain.