The Glass Menagerie | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Glass Menagerie

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Tennessee Williams didn't intend his semiautobiographical 1944 play to be done as kitchen-sink realism, but usually it is--a choice that often diminishes its power by sentimentalizing the work. Director Sean Graney's relentlessly unsentimental take on the desperate Wingfield household utilizes many of the playwright's original nonrealistic touches, notably the use of projected words and pictures, excised from the first production on Broadway. These accents--coupled with jagged expressionistic lighting and the slightly heightened emotional tone of the acting in this Hypocrites production--make it crystal clear that this is no nostalgic look at prewar Saint Louis. Rather it's a cruel but affecting portrait of three lost souls, bound together as only a hopelessly unhappy family can be. Through 3/6: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Athenaeum Theatre, second-floor studio theater, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500. $15-$20.

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