The All Campus Theatre production group debuted their second performance of the season, "The Glass Menagerie," Sept. 11 at the UTK Wesley Foundation.
Originally written by Tennessee Williams, "The Glass Menagerie," is a memory play and one of Williams' most recognizable works. The show featured the classic 1930s rendition of the single parent Wingfield family, including Amanda Wingfield (Karissa Kirsch), Laura Wingfield (Rachel Finney) and Tom Wingfield (Kolt Free) and Amanda's quest to find a proper gentleman caller for her crippled and shy daughter, Laura.
Tom is the only connection to possible gentleman callers through his employment at the warehouse. Laura has only had one particular interest in a gentleman throughout her entire life, Jim D. O'Connor (Eric Sorrels) who she met in high school. On his quest to find his sister a gentleman caller, the first man that Tom brings to dinner for his sister is none other than Mr. O'Connor.
Each character in the production faces their own personal trials and tribulations.
Finney, a senior in English and theater, has found she relates not just to the character she plays, but to all of the characters in different ways.
"In Amanda, I identify with her determination and drive to get the best out of life that she can," Finney said. "In Tom, I see his overwhelming sense of passion that I harbor myself. The intensity of Tom's dreams almost blind him which happens to be an issue I have been struggling with throughout college."
The character of Laura, however, holds a special place in Finney's heart.
"In Laura, the character I had the pleasure of portraying, I see so much of myself," Finney said. "Her intense need to please everyone around her and yet the ability to isolate herself in horrible situations. She truly is a flicker of hope."
The set proved to be extremely appropriate for the narration of the story, which was told by Free, a junior in College Scholars.
Because many characters face their own personal impasses, the set and narration helped the audience travel back in time to the 1930s era and view the play from the character's perspective.
"The aspect that I enjoyed most about the production of the play was that everyone really had their heart into it," said Isabelle Tipton, stage manager and secretary for ACT. "The actors, the designers, the tech crew. It really makes a huge difference in how the play is performed and how it comes across. We are all really proud of it."
Kirsch, whose first ACT production is "Menagerie," said that this play helped her as an actress. She also emphasized the characters' search for hope in the midst of cynicism.
"The show is about a group of people either heading in the right direction the wrong way, or heading in the wrong direction the right way," Kirsch, a junior in creative writing, said. "The gorgeous writing contributes to this sense of underlying cynicism in the piece as far as at least Tom is concerned, while still managing to keep the hope contained in Jim, Laura and Amanda afloat.
"It's delicate – each of the characters is a piece in Laura's menagerie."
For more information on future ACT productions, click here.