A New Interpretation of ‘The Glass Menagerie’ Presented Feb. 13-16 at Appalachian State’s Valborg Theatre

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Appalachian State University junior performance majors Luke Schaffer and Laura Strausbaugh play Laura Wingfield and Jim O’Connor, Wingfield’s “gentleman caller” in Tennessee Williams’ classic play “The Glass Menagerie.”  Produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance, performances run Feb.13-17 in Valborg Theatre on campus. Photo by Natalie Carpenter

Appalachian State University junior performance majors Luke Schaffer and Laura Strausbaugh play Laura Wingfield and Jim O’Connor, Wingfield’s “gentleman caller” in Tennessee Williams’ classic play “The Glass Menagerie.” Produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance, performances run Feb.13-17 in Valborg Theatre on campus. Photo by Natalie Carpenter

Feb. 12, 2013. The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance will present Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams’ highly acclaimed masterpiece “The Glass Menagerie” in the state-of-the-art Valborg Theatre on campus.

The performance has a five-day run Feb. 13-16 at 7:30 nightly and a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 17. Ticket prices start at just $8 for students and are $13 for faculty/staff and seniors and $15 for adults.  For more information, click on http://theatre.appstate.edu/events/glass-menagerie or call the theatre box office at 828-262-3063 or toll-free at 800-841-ARTS (2787).

“The Glass Menagerie” takes the audience on an emotional journey through one man’s troubled memories. Director Derek Gagnier, an associate professor of theatre and coordinator for the Bachelor of Arts degree in performance is presenting the play in such a way that the audience is viewing it as it is being written, which reinforces Williams’ intention that it be staged as a “memory play.”

“We are using the idea that writing conveys details, feelings and ideas in varying degrees of clarity,” Gagnier said. “The lighting, set and costumes will reflect this. The play will seem like the recollections of a young man coming of age, having to face the realization that to be happy, he must abandon his beloved family,” he said. “It’s as if we are witnessing him purging his conscience by writing the events on paper.”

Many believe the play was a semi-autobiographical piece for Tennessee, who was raised in an environment very much like the one presented in the work. Gagnier called the play “poetic, romantic and heartbreaking. It is one of the best plays on which I’ve ever worked.”

Williams was an American playwright, screenwriter, poet and novelist whose career spanned from 1936 to his death in 1983. During his lifetime, he wrote some of the most beloved plays in the history of American Theatre, including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Rose Tattoo.”  He received numerous awards and honors, including the Tony Award for Best Play, two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Valborg Theatre is located on the north side of Chapell Wilson Hall on Howard Street. The door faces the back of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street. Parking is available after 5 p.m. on campus in faculty lots and the College Street parking deck near the Belk Library and Information Commons.

The Department of Theatre and Dance is housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to provide liberal arts educations for the B.S. degree in teaching theatre arts and the B.A. degrees in dance studies or theatre arts. The department values the opportunity to offer coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Vital to the support of this mission is a dynamic co-curricular production program that provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region. The departmental philosophy is to support the university’s liberal arts environment through a balanced and integrated emphasis on teaching, creative activity, scholarship and service.

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