Impeccable design, performances illuminate 'Glass Menagerie'

Like most high school students, I first read “The Glass Menagerie” with a bit of youthful indifference. As much as I genuinely admired Tennessee Williams’ lyrical style, I had a hard time connecting with such forlorn characters — despite the autobiographical intrigue. But then, I didn’t have the advantage of seeing Studio Tenn’s gorgeous revival, which opened at The Factory at Franklin Thursday evening.

Largely based on Williams’ own domineering mother and fragile sister, the story centers on former Southern belle Amanda Wingfield, who yearns for the comforts of her youth while desperately clutching at a better future for her adult children. Meanwhile, Tom (who also serves as the play’s narrator) longs for adventure, but feels trapped by his obligation to his mother and sister, Laura.

Director/designer Matt Logan draws us in with impeccable design and absolute clarity. But along with his unerring vision, he ensures the production’s success by reuniting the full cast from Studio Tenn’s acclaimed 2011 staging.

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