Theater Schmeater

2125 Third Ave
Seattle, WA (map)

phone 206-324-5801
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I enjoyed the play. It made me think & laugh. Great performances by all.

Posted by Neal Simon on May 17, 2008 at 2:30 PM | Report this comment

I cannot fathom why Karen Gruber Ryan decided to play Amanda Wingfield as a twenty-first-century MILF in Theater Schmeater’s “The Glass Menagerie,” and I cannot fathom why director J.D. Lloyd let her. Amanda is supposed to be quite poor, living in marginal conditions. She has gray, thinning hair, a paunch, and bad teeth. She is malnourished. She wears second-hand clothes and busted shoes. When she tries to play the chirpy Southern Belle it is not endearing, it’s pathetic. Amanda is the opposite of a MILF.

I have no idea exactly how old Gruber Ryan is: Forty? Forty-five? It’s hard to tell in these days of miracles and wonders. I have never seen her off-stage, but I’m sure that she is perfectly adorable. And she has done almost nothing to disguise these gifts in her Amanda Wingfield: dark hair, bright teeth, straight back, flat tummy, sprightly gait, sharp clothes and a perky attitude. Quite the catch, twenty-three skidoo, hubba hubba.

This does not compute.

I suppose that Amanda would be forty- to forty-five-years old. Which means that by today’s physical standards she should appear at least sixty. Gruber Ryan’s Amanda resembles the 1930’s equivalent of a thirty-year-old. This Amanda could skip across the alley to the Paradise Dance Hall and hook up in about five minutes.

It’s perfectly bizarre that someone would choose acting as a vocation and then refuse to use the classic tools of makeup and stagecraft to represent a prematurely-aged victim of the Great Depression. This is a disservice to a fine play which is a commentary on poverty and wasted lives. It’s also a disservice to the other actors, each of whom have created precisely defined physical personas, as well as to the ingenious set and lighting designers.

This is not the first time I’ve seen vanity nearly destroy a production, and, unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Posted by CSpoke on September 30, 2010 at 5:37 PM | Report this comment

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