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by Larry Litt
Bouffon Glass Menajoree
Directed by Eric Davis
The Brick Theater
575 Metropolitan Ave.
Thurs-Sat 8 pm
March 8-24, 2007 (closed)
Reviewed by Larry Litt March 23.
''Bouffon Glass Menajoree.'' Photo by Bram Muller.
When commedia dell' arte walks arm-in-arm to mate with grand guignol then comes calling on that pathetic warhorse of a southern American white trash tragedy, The Glass Menagerie, I need to see this perfect theatrical storm.
To begin with, I'm not a big fan of Tennessee Williams' sob sister plays. However there is a sizable enough audience base that the Ten Directions theater company can create a travesty of this tragedy. Indeed, it's theatrical tradition to parody highly visible and recognized literary properites. So this version of the Winfield family's attempt to rid themselves of their only eligible daughter, the crippled and depressed Laura, is not too far from one of comedy's great purposes.
These three Winfields hyperactively and ingeniously played by co-creator Aimee German as Amanda, co-creator Audrey Crabtree as Laura and co-creator Lynn Berg as Tom show off their comedic sarcasm with painless skill. This is a truly disgusting family with hints of every conceivable perversion arising early in the play. But they are extrememly funny, breaking up the audience and in effect creating a new genre of American comedic condescension.
Amanda the enormous mother, Tom the histrionic brother and Laura the pathetic crippled sister live for the moment a Gentleman Caller visits, falls in love with Laura, marries her, then cares for the family for the rest of their lives.
Here lies the casts and director Eric Davis' high risk plot device. Because the actors are experienced improvsors they call a male audience member on stage to play the Gentleman Caller. It's a wild ride guessing whether the novice will respond correctly and continue the plays mission. He gets lots of ridiculous help from the anxious family.
This is a fun evening for both theatre buffs and comedy fans. In this version of The Glass Menagerie the cast of three actors have chosen to mega-supersize their characters' personnas. They succeed.
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