The Glass Menagerie

Southern harm

So dreamy.

So dreamy.

Photo courtesy of Resurrection Theatre

The Glass Menagerie; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; $15-$20. Resurrection Theatre, 1723 25th Street; (916) 223-9568; Through September 12.
Rated 4.0

In his classic play The Glass Menagerie, playwright Tennessee Williams unveiled a beautifully fragile intensity that permeated his dialogue, his story and his now-iconic characters. The Glass Menagerie is a thinly-veiled autobiography of Williams’ early life as the struggling writer Tom who is supporting his desperate mother, Amanda, and emotionally delicate sister, Laura—and the story is presented to the audience by Tom, who is both narrator and protagonist.

However, in Resurrection Theatre’s production of Williams’ 1944 classic, it’s Lee Marie Kelly’s powerfully poignant portrayal of Amanda that shifts the focus from Tom to Amanda, and allows the audience to rediscover this story of a dysfunctional family teetering toward collapse. Kelly is mesmerizing as the fading Southern belle who lives on the memories of better days while frantically trying to save herself and her daughter from an increasingly bleak future. She makes you ache for her and her daughter, and provides an unsettling understanding of her strange behavior and life choices.

Director Margaret Morneau carefully keeps the action to a minimum so that the characters and language are central to the story, and pulls out heart-tugging moments from her cast. Matt Rives, a relative newcomer to the Sacramento theater scene, gives the audience a realisticly conflicted Tom through his emotional swings (though he needs to slow down his dialogue so we can savor Williams’ words). Katie Kemp skillfully balances her portrayal of Laura so she doesn’t come across as clichéd while Eric Craig breathes life into a welcomed gentleman caller.

Special thumbs up to the beautiful production elements of this Glass Menagerie—period costumes, music and a set dotted with lit glass figurines, all enhanced by dramatic lighting choices.