‘The Glass Menagerie’ at Georgia Shakespeare
Georgia Shakespeare keeps getting better and better. Not that it wasn’t good, but the past two shows I’ve seen there have been outstanding, and “The Glass Menagerie “ is no exception. Thanks, greatly, to two outstanding actors Mary Lynn Ownen, who plays Amanda Wingfield, and Joe Knezevich, who plays her son, Tom.
Knezevich, is fast becoming my factor actor in this town. I’ve seen him in a number of shows in the past couple of years, and he is always a standout. He’s different from one show to the next. He steps out of his own shoes and becomes someone totally different. And while you might think that’s what acting is—you’d be totally right—far too many actors in this town don’t do it. Not only does he change from role to role, he changes within the role he’s playing. One moment he’s a lout, the next moment he’s charming, the next, a raving maniac. Not at all unlike Owen. While I don’t remember seeing her in other shows, she is a consummate actress. She does the unexpected—charming her son one moment and raging at him the next. In one standout screaming match between the two of them, it was so real I wanted to stop it.
Now I’m going to be picky here and tell you about a few of the flaws.
Laura Wingfiled (Bethany Anne Lind), Tom’s “crippled” sister, holds the story together as the poor, lost, sweet soul who can’t do anything all day but play the gramophone and play with her miniature glass animals. Lind’s acting is believable as Laura but predictable and one dimensional. Laura has worn a leg brace since she was a child. Although Laura is more crippled in mind than body, Lind forgets that she is supposed to have some difficulty walking. Lind misses the mark sometimes. For example, when her “gentleman caller” Jim O’Connor (Travis Smith), accidentally breaks the unicorn she adores most in her collection of horses, she is barely saddened.
There is one flaw that I hope Georgia Shakespeare fixes: On opening night when Jim picked up a newspaper, there were only large sheets of flimsy paper with no print on it. The rest of the scene was so real that the surprise of seeing no print took me and my companion right out of the scene and put us inside a theater wondering why there was no print on the newspaper.
Here is why you have to see this show: Mary Lynn Owen and Joe Knezevich. Every time I see Knezevich in anything he is outstanding. I’ve seen Jessica Tandy play Amanda on Broadway. Ms. Owen, your performance was no less than hers.
Kat Conley has created a simple set that reeks of shattered dreams against a backdrop of shattered shards of glass.
“The Glass Menagerie” runs through Oct. 30 at Georgia Shakespeare.