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‘The Glass Menagerie’ will shake your emotions

Kaua‘i Community Players is currently presenting “The Glass Menagerie,” which breaks your guard down and shakes up your emotions with a solid, four-member cast.

The setting is mid-1920s St. Louis, where getting a call from a gentleman was the key to a better future for glass menagerie collector Laura Wingfield, played by actress Rhiannon Saucedo, who speaks about her role.

“I liked that there is a transformation, and she has the fewest lines,” Saucedo said. “I think she also changes the most. This story is about Tom’s own pain, and Laura is just a reflection of that”

Narrating throughout the show is Laura Wingfield’s brother Tom Wingfield, played by LeBaron Thornton.

“Tom is a quintessential struggling artist, and he is supporting his family at the same time,” Thornton said. “So he’s fighting against his family to be able to pursue his dreams, particularly his mother. Look out for LeBaron Thornton.”

Throughout the play, Amanda Wingfield, played by Jennifer Cullen, plots out each day with her roller coaster of emotions she has for her grown keiki, Tom and Laura Wingfield.

“Some people have only seen her or portray her as just a raving sort of mad maniac,” Cullen said. “For me, my interpretation — yes, she’s a nag. And, yes, she overdoes these things. But it all comes from love. She loves her children desperately. And it’s just mothers just want the best for the children.”

This play will have your guard drop by the second act and draw you in when you least expect it. Just when you thought it was over, they throw in a wild card. Earl Dax plays Jim O’Conner, possible suitor and high-school crush of Laura Wingfield.

“It’s funny. Tom is a character that resonates with me more personally,” Dax said. “I’m more like a wanderer, a drifter. So Jim was definitely more challenging. But it was fun to find my way into that character. And Arnold (Meister, the director) actually was helpful. He referenced Dale Carnegie, who is kind of this self-help guru.”

The socially-distanced audience gave Meister a standing ovation Friday, and even chatted with him after.

“The KCP has asked me if I would direct this,” Meister said. “I think part of it is because the pandemic has just closed down the theater. They wanted to find some smaller shows that would be a little bit easier to produce. And the second reason is Tennessee Williams is one of our greatest poets, American writers, and I directed a show of his seven years back called ‘Streetcar Named Desire.’”

Meister said he only knew one of the four main actors, Cullen, who directed a show for Women In Theater.

“The other three I didn’t even know. They just came to audition,” Meister said. “And I had a lot of people audition, but those three just stuck it out.”

The music and lights were timely, orchestrated by KCP board liaison and technical operator Sade Reuarin. Behind the scenes, Mary Genegabaus made it smooth for the cast to change or to rearrange the props.

After getting my heart pulled, slowed down and just left in despair, I rate this play a five out of five diamonds. It truly is a gem, one you rarely see, with an experienced director and a passionate cast that just connects well together.

The play will run for the next two weekends, according to Meister. Some shows are sold out. Tickets can be bought at kauaicommunityplayers.org.
Source: The Garden Island

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