REVIEW: Indie bringing Williams classic to local stage

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Laura (Tawney Jenkins) reacts shyly as her “gentleman caller” (Hayden Davis) talks to her in a scene from “The Glass Menagerie,” being presented this weekend and next at The Indie on Main. Also pictured is Laura’s brother (Kevin Shreve), who narrates the compelling story.

By Alona Martin

For the News Tribune

KEYSER - “The Glass Menagerie,” Tennessee Williams’ memory play, is filled with high expectations, and crushing disappointments. This intriguing, somewhat autobiographical play is based on its author, his histrionic mother, his extremely fragile sister, and the gentleman caller.

Tom, the author and narrator (Kevin Shreve), states at the beginning that this is a “dimly lighted, sentimental, and not realistic” memory of his life in a St. Louis apartment. He lives with his mother Amanda (Luann Lancaster), and his sister Laura (Tawney Jenkins). The gentleman caller (Hayden Davis), arriving at the end of the play, was a hero in high school, but unsuccessful since.

Tom is an aspiring poet, resentfully forced to work in a shoe warehouse to support his mother and sister since their father ran off years ago. Amanda, originally from a genteel Southern family, lives in the flowery past and is both amusing and pathetic. She must sell magazine subscriptions by phone to supplement their meager income.  She worries about her “selfish” son and her shy, unmarried daughter Laura, who fills her days with her collection of glass animals and can’t face the world. But Amanda holds out hope that someday Laura will have a suitable husband. When Tom brings home a gentleman caller for dinner, their life seems to be filled with aspirations and illusions for a better future.

Considered one of the most significant plays in the American theatre, “The Glass Menagerie” premiered on Broadway in 1945 and became an instant commercial and artistic success that established Tennesee Williams’ reputation as a playwright.

This production by The Indie on Main is both touching, humorous and impressive. It is an ensemble piece and all four actors do an amazing job with this complex work of theatre. Their characters are brittle, vulnerable and believable. Seeing this production with the lights, projections and sounds will be a night of live theatre you won’t soon forget.

Stephen Settimi directs, assisted by Alona Martin (a newcomer to West Virginia). The show opens this Saturday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m., with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday. The remaining performances will be Friday, Feb. 5, and Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at  . There will be limited seating with social distancing inside the theatre.

In addition, there will be an online streaming available with a ticket purchase or donation on Feb. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. Visit the Facebook site The Indie On Main for details.

Alona Martin is relatively new to West Virginia, having moved here from Northwest Ohio two years ago. She was active in community theatre there for over 40 years, having directed 28 plays, and was involved with close to 50 more in varying capacities, from set design/building, props, backstage managing and programs.