By Erin Wallace
Every year since I was 8 years old, my aunt and uncle have taken me to New York to see a Broadway musical for my birthday. I have also taken several trips to see plays and musicals with my friends and family. As a college student, my passion for Broadway is stronger than ever. This is why I decided to take Dr. Jack Sullivan’s “The Drama” class for the fall semester. Once I was officially enrolled in the class, I was able to read the overview of what we would be doing and I could not have been more excited. During the course of this semester, we will attend five plays and two musicals, all featuring star-studded casts. After each show, we will go to dinner in the city and discuss our reactions as a class.
Our first trip to the city was on Sept. 15, where we saw The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, starring Zachary Quinto (Star Trek: Into Darkness). Since it was a straight play and not a musical, I did not know what to expect. Contrary to what I originally believed, it was absolutely fantastic. The cast consisted of only two actors and two actresses: a mother, a daughter (Laura), a son (Tom), and a gentleman caller. Tom narrates throughout the performance, giving background and insight.
During the play, the mother pushes her daughter to venture outside of the home and to bring back gentlemen callers. However, the poor girl is troubled and will never go out on her own; the anxiety is too much for her. Each and every day she plays with her “glass menagerie”, as her mother calls it. Laura is shy, lonely and socially awkward and has no strength to stand up for herself. However, her brother, Tom played by Quinto, has no problem fighting his mother. Tom wants to explore the world and experience adventures of his own. Unfortunately, his mother needs him to work and support the family; she does not care what he wants. The mother nags and pushes her son to the point in which he must leave the house to escape her madness. Quinto’s character loves his sister very much and would do anything for her. Toward the end of the play, he brings back a gentleman caller, the man she has loved since high school, in hopes that they could reconnect. Sadly, he is engaged to be married and crushes the poor girl’s heart. The mother, believing her son knew this all along, scolds him for what he has done. Having no clue of his friend’s engagement, Tom is fed up with his mother and leaves home for good. Although he loves his sister, he knows that leaving is the only option. This point in the play was extremely sad because the audience could feel Tom’s pain. He had to sacrifice his bond with his sister, in order to live his life.
The acting was absolutely beautiful throughout the entire play. The mother, played by Cherry Jones, was phenomenal; her acting took my breath away. Quinto played a truly one-of-a-kind Tom, and I was privileged to have seen him live. The set was spectacular because it was surrounded by water. At first glance, the audience would assume it was glass or some other shiny surface, but the stage was actually surrounded by a thin pool of water. It alluded to the fact that the members of the family were constantly trapped within themselves. The cast utilized one stage; the set was never altered or rearranged during the entire performance.
I thought the play would bore me, but I loved every minute of it. After the performance, I was lucky enough have met Quinto himself; he even allowed me to take a picture with him. It was a day I will never forget, and I look forward to seeing our next play, the musical First Date, on Sept. 29.