MAILED: April 30, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE -- There's a first time for everything.For Cheryl Starr, directing "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams is the first adult production she's directed while teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
"It gives us a nice variety," Starr said. "It's interesting to direct different plays and completely different scripts. It happens to be a favorite play of mine."
"The Glass Menagerie" will be presented in preview performances at 7:30 p.m. May 6 and 7. Additional performances are slated for 7:30 p.m. May 8-9 and 12-16. A matinee show will be performed at 1:30 p.m. May 10. All performances are in Kjer Theatre.
Written in the 1940s, the play focuses on the characters of Amanda Wingfield and her children, Tom and Laura.
But the play is looked at through Tom's eyes, Starr said. The audience will first see him as a narrator who says he will take them back in time.
"In a sense, it's Tom's memory of growing up with his mother and sister," Starr said.
Amanda was a southern belle and is always remembering her gentlemen callers. Tom wants to leave home and quit his factory job and Laura is shy and awkward, Starr said.
Because Laura is so shy, Amanda's main concern is finding her a husband and Tom agrees to help, Starr said.
"It's a really interesting story about a family," she said. "Each one of the characters is a unique individual."
Jennifer D'Lynn Westlund, a senior from Eau Claire who plays Amanda, said her character is one who really lets herself go.
"She still lives in her memory," Westlund said. "She has a hard time facing reality and is obsessed with the gentleman caller."
The fact that the cast consists of only four people gives us more time to talk about the characters, to share research and to go over scenes in more detail, Starr said.
"It's so enjoyable because you get to know everybody so well," Westlund said. "We've developed this wonderful relationship and rapport."
Even though Starr knows the play well, she's never bored with the script.
"I just think the play is full of poetry," she said. "The language is so rich. I never get tired of hearing it."
Working with Starr is senior Russell Zook from Fall Creek as assistant director.
William F. Mellien, professor of music and theatre arts, is the scene and lighting designer and makeup designer for the show. Ann Behrens is the costume designer. Art Gulig, of the department of music and theatre arts, is the sound designer.
Tickets for the play are $7 for the general public, $5 for senior citizens and youths or $4 for students, faculty and staff with a University ID. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 30, 1998