A Menagerie in downtown Lafayette

by Anna Purdy

Starting tonight, Tennessee Williams comes alive at The Acadiana Center for the Arts.

The Glass Menagerie begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. and runs Friday and Saturday at the same time, then a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. It is directed by Loren Farmer and Susan Bing-Hines. Farmer has been a professional actor for more than 50 years and has co-founded local theatre companies. Hines is a Lafayette native who went to New York after graduating from what was then called the University of Southwest Louisana in 1973 and has pursued acting both here and on the East Coast ever since.

Tennessee Williams' Menagerie is one of his most famous plays. It is set up as a memory play, meaning it is told from the perspective of Tom, the narrator, years after the incidents that make up The Glass Menagerie have happened to the Wingfield family. Set in St. Louis in the 1930s, the play tales the story of a fallen Southern belle named Amanda, once rich but now left destitute with two children after her husband walks out. Tom is left to support the family and Laura, his younger sister, is riddled with illnesses both mental and physical. Amanda decides Laura must be married off and that Tom is the one to find her a suitor. The Glass Menagerie's title derives from Laura's prized animal figurines, which are periodically broken throughout the play and map out the family's descent.

Incidentally, Williams' was buried in St. Louis. He was born in Mississippi and lived around the world, including New Orleans' where he set several of his plays. He went on to win two Pulitzers and was nominated for a Tony four times.

Tonight's show features the cast of Jessica Jouclard as Laura Wingfield, James Wise as Tom Wingfield**,** Steven "Smitty" Smith as Jim O'Connor and Christy Leichty as Amanda Wingfield. Call 233-7060 or go to AcA's site here for more information.