This weekend is the last chance to catch The New Depot Players production of “The Glass Menagerie,” Tennessee Williams’ classic play chronicling the yearnings and unfulfilled dreams of the Wingfield family. Though the play is set in the 1940s, the family’s dysfunctional dynamics are universal and timeless.
Under the direction of Kelley Whitmire, recently named NDP’s Favorite Director, the small but largely talented cast infuses the dark drama with poignancy, heart and even a bit of wit.
Rockdale County High School alumnus and Georgia Perimeter College theatre instructor Adam Sechelski plays Tom Wingfield with precision as he dryly narrates his mother’s desperate efforts to regain her past glory. “Adam brings an intellectual approach to the acting process,” said Whitmire.
The yin to Sechelski’s sardonic yang is Amy Hoke as Amanda Wingfield, the former Southern belle whose husband abandoned her and her two children. Hoke, Henry Players veteran and NDP newbie, wonderfully manages the enormous amount of dialogue required by her character’s endless needling and meddling. Whitmire said Hokes’ “tremendous work ethic and positive attitude” accounted for mastering lines and tone in a relatively short rehearsal period.
Convinced if she had chosen more wisely things could have been very different, Amanda badgers Tom to bring a home a “gentleman caller” for his sister, Laura, the only way she can imagine the family’s fortunes changing. Salem High School junior Avery Reagan plays the disabled and withdrawn Laura with remarkable grace. Whitmire said he was struck by the openness and tenderness in Reagan’s performance.
Enter the unwitting caller, Jim O’Connor, former high school basketball star and Tom’s co-worker. Amanda vicariously relives a brief moment of her glory days through an awkward family dinner. The encounter between Laura and Jim seems promising until he reveals he has a fiancé. Paul Hathorn, SHS alum and yet another product of RCPS vibrant theatre scene, brings “great energy and exuberance” to the production according to Whitmire. He personifies Jim’s vigor and positivity, a stark contrast to the vibe in the Wingfield home - which only grows bleaker in the aftermath of the botched date.
The “Glass Menagerie” is a departure from NDP’s campier comedic fare, but live theatre, especially at this level in our own backyard, is always a worthy outing. And hopefully, going home with or to one’s own family is even sweeter after witnessing the Wingfield train wreck.
“The Glass Menagerie” runs March 8 – 10 at 8 p.m. and March 11 at 3 p.m. at Center Street Arts, 910 Center St. in Conyers. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and $12 for students. Visit www.thenewdepotplayers.com or call (678)374-3224. Word to the wise, “friend” The New Depot Players on Facebook, and you may receive ticket special alerts.