Cappies Review: The New School’s “The Glass Menagerie”


Ayan Rasulova

This past Saturday, The New School of Northern Virginia tackled Tennessee Williams’ sorrowful portrait of family dysfunction, The Glass Menagerie, in what was a brilliantly executed and captivating performance.

Written in 1944 and published in 1945, The Glass Menagerie follows the lives of a family of three, living in a cramped apartment in St. Louis after their telephone-man father figure left to chase after long distances. Protagonist Tom Wingfield, a wistful creative trapped as a mere warehouse worker, juggles his rocky relationship with his mother, Amanda Wingfield, and his physically disabled and self conscious sister Laura. The play is equally as charming as it is poignant, exploring the dynamics of a 1940s American family and the limitations that come with tradition, duty, and dreams.

The casting of characters is crucial for a play that features only four roles, and The New School’s production of “The Glass Menagerie” effectively delivered on this front. Mia Morgan, playing the haughty mother of the household, Amanda, balanced her nurturing yet overbearing personality consistently throughout the play, delivering witty one-liners and cutting remarks back-to-back to showcase their character’s complex nature. Emily Ocasio’s performance of Laura Wingfield was equally consistent, maintaining her shaky voice, fidgety limbs, and physical deformity all throughout the play, never once breaking character. Emily’s attention to detail and immense personality shone through even through the simple motion of fiddling with a stick of gum during her conversation with a gentleman caller.

What really sold the show, however, was The New School’s intricate character design choices. Libby Miller, the lead hair and makeup designer for the play, successfully painted a story through her stylistic choices, such as Amanda’s use of makeup and uncomfortably tight bun even when in the comfort of her own home to demonstrate her flawed, inauthentic nature and tendency to be unrealistic. Additionally, Lead Costume Designer Jaiden Cranford highlighted the contrasting nature of the Wingfield family through their wardrobe choices, with Laura’s sorrowful blue hues and Amanda’s bold, scarlet outfits.

Overall, The New School of Northern Virginia’s show was a major success, and every single individual involved displayed phenomenal talent and effort throughout.