UH School of Theater's Menagerie features one of the most talented casts ever to grace the University's stage

theater REVIEW

By Karen Heimbaugh

Daily Cougar Staff

You really want to get out of the house. Your mom is driving you crazy and your sibling is only making matters worse.

Sound familiar?

Welcome to the Great American Family and the bane of young adult existence. Welcome also to the wonderful (although not always happy) world of Tennessee Williams.

Oct. 2, the UH School of Theater opened the house for a production of Tennessee Williams' masterpiece The Glass Menagerie.

Heralded as Williams' first and greatest play, it seems obvious that those who have never witnessed the power of his work should walk across campus, pay $7 and be mesmerized by the writing of this dramatic genius.

However, an even better reason to put down the remote and head out for a night of the theater is that Menagerie showcases one of the most talented casts (in my opinion) the University has ever had on the stage.

UH Director of Theater Sydney Berger, renowned for his work with the Houston Shakespeare Festival (and who could forget Carnival of Souls?), is also the director of this production.

Berger, who usually chooses plays due to what sparks his interest at that particular point in time, chose this play for purely unemotional reasons. "I chose it because it was a classic," he said.

"I've always stayed away from doing The Glass Menagerie because it is on practically every reading list from junior high to high school. It has become overproduced and clichéd."

However, when rehearsals began, Berger re-discovered his love for Tennessee Williams and the play itself. "I had forgotten what a breathtakingly beautiful play it is," he said.

Caroline Houston Boone, an associate professor who was recently honored with the teaching excellence award from Cooper Industries, will be portraying the part of Amanda.

Boone was offered the part at the end of the season last year and accepted because, as she said, "it was a challenge and an incredible opportunity for me to grow as an actor."

A professor who continues to learn and challenge their own limitations is one of the best assets a university can have, and Boone is no exception. She portrays Amanda as a woman who is driven by the needs of her children.

Amanda is a woman who has so much drive, in fact, that she never sees the end until it is right in front of her. "I, as Caroline, have a shut-off switch," Boone said. "Amanda doesn't. But I love the fact that she never gives up."

Luis Galindo, a senior in the theater department, plays the role of Tom. Galindo is no stranger to the UH main stage. He has been featured in its production's of Of Mice and Men, Much Ado About Nothing, Dancing at Lughnasa and Romeo and Juliet, to name a few.

Galindo said he enjoys his part because he likes to "min out all the messages Williams was trying to give us about the human condition."

Portraying the part of Laura, the crippled daughter, is sophomore theater major Jennifer Cherry. "The misconception of Laura is that she is pathetic and weak," Cherry said.

"I tried to change that and make Laura strong, but trapped in her family. (Laura) sees herself as a monster, but she has not given up her fight to be 'normal.'"

Santry Rush, a senior transfer student from McLellan College, plays the part of the gentleman caller.

"I like the gentleman caller," Rush said. "He comes in and tries to make things a lot brighter. That's exactly who I am."

So, besides the amazing playwright, director and cast, you may still be thinking to yourself, "Why am I going to go this play when I read it in high school and I already know what happens?"

Well, according to those surrounding this production, "this ain't yo' mama's sappy version of The Glass Menagerie."

This production is about survival. As Rush says, "It's a play about learning to live with what's given to you and putting yourself first. It doesn't matter who it hurts, that is something that has to happen sometimes." Galindo agreed. "It's a play about being willing to do anything to be free," he said. "To pursue freedom is something that is very important. And I don't mean freedom like America, but personal freedom, spiritual freedom. "However, most importantly, everyone will find a bit of themselves in this play. Somehow or another, no matter how painful it may be," Galindo said. "Things can be touching without being pathetic," Rush added. "That is exactly what we have gone for."

Tickets for The Glass Menagerie are on sale now at the box office in the Wortham Theatre complex on campus. They are $7 for students and $9 general admission. The play will be running Oct. 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 2 p.m.

Basically, this is not a play to miss. After all, aren't you in college to be exposed to new experiences that help you find yourself?

Well, here's a chance to tell your mom what you learned this week.

Reach Heimbaugh at

Jslim22@hotmail.com.

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