Middle Tennessee State University A Tiny Eternal Continent Video Paper A Tiny Eternal Continent
1) Response should be a well-written two pages.
2) Save your response as a .pdf with your Last Name and Stories in the title (ex. GoodwinTiny)
3) Refer to the Response Guidelines and Sample Critique for guidance in writing your Response. Sample Critique Guidelines
Background Information on the Play
c. When you saw it
d. Where you saw it
e. Director’s name and Designers, if available
f. Background on the play, if available (it’s fine to research a play before you see it)
The Actual Production You Saw: (Use specific examples from the play to support your
responses to the following)
a. Describe the play’s central conflict, or (very briefly) the plot
b. Identify the main character(s) and the actors who played them
c. Discuss the performance of 2 actors. What was effective or ineffective?
d. Describe at least one design element (scenic, costumes, light, sound, projections) and its
support or detraction of the storytelling.
e. If the play is a musical, describe the music and how it affected the play.
f. Discuss the reaction of other audience members. Were they involved? Did they lose
interest? Did they laugh, gasp, or react emotionally to anything or stage?
g. Was the story clearly told? Could you see, hear, and understand all of the words and
Would you recommend this play to others? Why or Why not?
a. Did you receive a message from the event?
b. What was your overall impression of the success of this event? Did it achieve what it set
out to do?
c. Feel free to include any other info that might help another student decide whether or
not to attend this event (cost, relevance to current events, educational value, etc)
Mechanics and Writing
a. Play titles should be underlined, bolded, OR italicized. Plays are complete works.
b. Does your response provide a clear picture of your experience with the play?
c. Do you support your views with examples from the production?
d. Do you use the language and vocabulary of theatre?
Shadows and memories in ‘Glass
Menagerie’ on Broadway
“The Glass Menagerie” (Michael J. Lutch)
Chris Jones Contact Reporter
NEW YORK — We humans are strange creatures, forever craving reinvention and yet unable to
prevent our pasts from dancing around in our heads. No poet or playwright ever understood that
better than Tennessee Williams, a writer who traded one life he hated for another that he had forged
for himself, only to find the shadows of what he’d left behind still raging and roaring in his skull. And
in no play did Williams reveal himself more fully than in “The Glass Menagerie,” a fragile, simple,
beautiful creation of the 1940s that has finally come into its own in a new century, finally freed for
good from its long, weary fight against the strictures of realism and the imperative of earnest
As you can see both in director John Tiffany’s beautiful Broadway revival that opened here Thursday
night and in a smaller but equally insightful and yet more intense Chicago revival that was the
highlight of last season, directors have finally realized that there is no shame in presenting explicit
memory in the only medium that can fully serve it, and that Amanda, Laura and her Gentleman Caller
are really all shadows in the mind of Tom, the authorial alter ego who narrates this drama of
remembrances, this shadowy play of mistakes made and traps sprung for life.
Writing long ago, the Chicago Tribune critic Claudia Cassidy called Williams “an Orpheus who looked
back.” And toward the end of Tiffany’s production, the wisdom of that exquisitely simple summation
is laid bare. Steven Hoggett, Tiffany’s frequent collaborator, has dreamed up a movement vocabulary
that puts you wholly in mind of your dreams of lost loved ones, who can seem at once so real and so
far away. Hoggett’s work invades the dividing line between the living and the dead, which is exactly
what a play of memories demands.
Bob Crowley’s set, fused with Natasha Katz’s lighting, has many tricks up its sleeve. The intense
surprises include an opening device that allows Celia Keenan-Bolger’s Laura to be pulled into
existence by her despairing brother, and a series of fire escapes that seem to reach all the way to the
sky. But the most telling visual in this beautiful, sad collage involves a great, dark pool of water that
slowly comes into focus, suggesting that all these characters actually are lost in the underworld, even
if it’s really just the recesses of the playwright’s mind.
Cherry Jones, one of the great American stage actors, understands that playing a character in a
memory play does not mean work informed by the ephemeral. Her Amanda is a great, gutsy woman
from a time lousy for her gender. In this fine performance, you discern that her attempts at survival
and modest progress are laid low by her own awareness of life’s fragility for women, such as her
daughter, without visible means of support. Keenan-Bolger spends much of the two hours of stage
traffic trying to find some small victories to overcome her own despair; it is another beautiful
Tiffany uses the Gentleman Caller, played by Brian J. Smith, to suggest that some of us are less
consumed by painful memories than others, and that does not flow just from circumstance but from
some kind of enviable immunity of the soul. In director Hans Fleischmann’s Chicago production,
actor Walter Biggs played Jim as a young man just as sad as Laura, a very valid interpretation. But
Smith, whose work here pops through the force of contrast and pitch-perfect Midwestern will, makes
him just one of those infuriating people we meet who don’t seem to have any sadness in their heart
and who just skate through life, inexplicably content. We sadder types often want to hitch our wagon
to their engines, but, as Williams knew so well, it rarely works out well. And they often are taken
before we can get to them.
The central poet in Tiffany’s production is actor Zachary Quinto, who plays Tom. In places, Quinto’s
laconic style threatens the requisite high stakes of these memories. Why else is Tom telling us this
story if it is not constantly pushing itself to the front of his head? Quinto will have to guard against the
dangers of sitting atop a hit show, finding it easier every night when, for the guy he’s playing, it should
actually get harder with every telling. But Quinto has some extraordinary moments, not the least of
which is a scene in which he drops his door key, watching it fall down, down, down into a void so deep
that you never doubt for a moment that it will never unlock anything for him again. Just as well,
At the Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St., New York; 800-432-7250 or telecharge.com
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