By Ana Chauhan, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Directed and produced by Dubai American Academy’s very own Padraig Downey, The play is a rendition of playwright Tennessee Williams’ script. It ran at The Junction, Dubai, on October 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.
The Glass Menagerie is based in the 1930s, during the Great Depression in the US. The almost autobiographical play is told from the point of view of Tom, acted out by Mario Silva. Tom explains his life as an aspiring poet who is dragged into the shoemaking industry in order to support his family. The play really takes off once Toms’s mother Amanda, played by Gwen Watson, demands that he find a ‘gentleman caller’ for his disabled sister, Laura.
Whilst the play is narrated by Tom, it revolves around Laura, played by Lucy McFeely. Her timid nature, accompanied by her physical disabilities are the reason why both her mother and brother feel the need to constantly take care of her. Whilst Laura spends her days idling and taking care of her glass menagerie, her younger brother, Tom has to sacrifice his time in order to ensure she is cared for. Mario Silva does a great job of portraying Tom’s frustration with his situation, with his frequent arguments with the family that express his emotions.
Steven Johanson, a counselor at Dubai American Academy, is introduced in the second act as a gentleman caller. The character he plays, Jim O’Connor, seems to be the perfect role for him. The charismatic and friendly nature of Jim is acted out almost perfectly. From his spring-like movements to his jovial voice, Steven Johanson is able to take on Jim’s role in a way that makes it seem like he isn’t even acting, but rather channeling the character.
During this play, none of the actors used microphones but simply projected their voices. they were able to be heard and understood clearly throughout the entire theatre, which was rather impressive. The Glass Menagerie also only had one main setting, which allowed the audience to focus more on the actors rather than get distracted by decor. Similarly, the use of only one backdrop allowed the actors to display their versatility in expressing their emotions without aid from the scenery.
Due to Covid-19, there are not many plays running at the moment. However, this play was definitely one worth going out to watch. The actors were able to perform without masks so that the audience could see their facial expressions, but audience members were not exempted from that rule and were spread out through the theatre to maintain social distancing.
Overall, The Glass Menagerie was intense, emotive, and mesmerizing. It can definitely be said that Mr. Downey and Mr. Johanson outdid themselves.