By Diana SaengerTennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” now at Cygnet Theatre through Nov.13, premiered in Chicago in 1944 and has remained viable ever since. Amanda Sitton, a Cygnet Theatre resident artist who appears in the drama, has an idea why.
“Williams has this style of writing that transcends prose and poetry,” said Sitton who takes on the role of daughter Laura Wingfield. “He writes very human characters who speak in sort of an elevated way. What they are speaking about is so universal that it becomes timeless because of the themes and the language that is so beautiful – yet there’s a trap in it, as well,
becauseit’s so beautiful. It’s like Shakespeare; you can get stuck in the language ...”
In “The Glass Menagerie,” Tom Wingfield wants to make life better for his mother and sister since their father left home. Tom is also a narrator who steps in and out of the “fourth wall,” as both storyteller and actor in a role.
“I think it’s a cutting-edge effect and cool for the audience,” said Sitton. “But at the same time, you don’t necessarily trust the narrators or storytellers because everything is from a personal perspective for each character, so it’s an interesting ride for the audience, like whose story am I
Sitton said she’s excited to be cast in “The Glass Menagerie,” as it was on her list as, “one of those I hope to have a part in someday.” She started acting lessons age 13 with San Diego’s D. J. Sullivan, and has since appeared in countless productions across the country, including “Doubt,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Man From Nebraska,” “Las Meninas,” “Golden Boy,” “Three Sisters,” “Crimes Of The Heart,” and “Four Dogs and a Bone,” to name a few.
“Laura is shy and describes herself as ‘crippled,’ ” said Sitton of her character, who wears a legbrace. “I don’t know how much self-awareness she has, and I don’t think she ruminates about her disabilities or her shyness. She lives in a world of her own creation where she is completely comfortable. I think she’s a happy, centered person.”
Sitton said she has directed productions, which gives her greater insight as an actor. “Besides knowing how to take notes now, I understand the role each actor plays in terms of the story you’re telling,” she said. “So for me, it’s how do I fit into the story instead of how does the story fit around me.”
The cast, under the direction of Sean Murray, includes resident artists Rosina Reynolds (“Noises Off,” “Copenhagen,” “The Little Foxes”) as Amanda Wingfield; Francis Gercke (“Our Town,” “The Tragedy of the Commons,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”) as Tom Wingfield, and Brian Mackey (“The History Boys,” “Storytelling on the Green”) as the Gentleman Caller, Jim O’Connor.
“This is a touching story about how much a family loves one another,” Sitton said. “I think audiences will understand the connection between mother and son, brother and sister. The show has an undercurrent that asks, ‘What do you do for your family?’ ”
If you go
What:‘The Glass Menagerie’
When:7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays; 3 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays to Nov. 13
Where:Cygnet Theatre Company, Old Town Stage, 4040 Twiggs St.
Box Office:(619) 337-1525