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The Glass Mendacity   ****** Las Vegas Little Theatre (Black Box) 06 September 2012 Written by Maureen Morley and Tom Willmorth, “The Glass Mendacity” is a parody of Tennessee Williams’ three most popular dramas, namely “The Streetcar Named Desire”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and the “Glass Menagerie”. The play is brimming full with allusions and quotes from those three works; only instead of sophisticated, thought-provoking drama, here we are dealing with a light-hearted comedy, populated with our beloved characters taking themselves altogether not too seriously. So much for the introduction, I am sure most of us by now are quite intrigued and think it sounds delightful, right? Well, unfortunately, wrong. What could have been an incredibly entertaining piece somehow turned out to be a very average and surprisingly non-amusing theatre production. Set in a Southern Mansion of Belle Reve the play revives all the main characters of the above mentioned dramas, but in a slightly different configuration. Thus we have Big Daddy (David Sankuer), Big Mama Amanda (Gillen Brey), Maggie the Cat (Penni Paskett), Blanche Kowalski (Susannah Smitherman), Stanley Kowalski (Dusin Sisney) Laura Dubois (Bonnie Bell), Mitch (Ryan Balint) and last, but not least, Brick (a bizarre hanger-based contraption with the picture of Paul Newman’s face stuck on it). Those of you familiar with Mr. Williams’ brilliant work will notice the name modifications and allusions to his dramas immediately, those who are not will inevitably fail to see the humor in it all. In fact, most of you Williams fans out there will, alas, probably still be searching for the illusive merriment factor in vain. I know I did, and not for the lack of trying or good intentions, even though I know his plays very well indeed. Sadly “The Glass Mendacity” possesses just about the same amount of witty charm as the mutely ever-so-eloquent Brick, with the odds sometimes dangerously turning close to favor the latter. And that is the whole problem with this parody. If you have never seen any of the original Williams’ plays it will appear like a lot of absurd gibberish. If you have, then you can certainly make the connections and you will understand what the characters are hinting at, but for the most part the lines will nonetheless translate into a lot of nonsense, unfortunately of the not-so-funny kind. Having said that, the performances of the individual actors still reflected the high level of artistry we have meanwhile come to expect from the Las Vegas Little Theater. But even their considerable efforts could not quite save the play. Now please do not misunderstand me, it was not completely horrible. There were a few truly comic elements, like Big Mama Amanda and her tales of the “gentleman callers”, who seemed to grow in numbers dramatically with every re-telling of the story, Maggie and her slips for every occasion of the day and night (a woman truly well-dressed, she had one for parties as well as funerals), Laura’s “glass animals”, turned ice-cubes, turned puddles and, of course, let us not forget Brick, the very silent and stubbornly unresponsive mannequin. So if you go in anticipating a comedy equivalent of Tennessee Williams’ brilliantly crafted dramas you will probably be in for a disappointment.  But if you just decide to go with the flow and somewhat adjust your expectations, this can be an experience you might actually enjoy, even if only for nostalgia’s sake.

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The Glass Mendacity   ****** Las Vegas Little Theatre (Black Box) 06 September 2012 Written by Maureen Morley and Tom Willmorth, “The Glass Mendacity” is a parody of Tennessee Williams’ three most popular dramas, namely “The Streetcar Named Desire”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and the “Glass Menagerie”. The play is brimming full with allusions and quotes from those three works; only instead of sophisticated, thought-provoking drama, here we are dealing with a light-hearted comedy, populated with our beloved characters taking themselves altogether not too seriously. So much for the introduction, I am sure most of us by now are quite intrigued and think it sounds delightful, right? Well, unfortunately, wrong. What could have been an incredibly entertaining piece somehow turned out to be a very average and surprisingly non- amusing theatre production. Set in a Southern Mansion of Belle Reve the play revives all the main characters of the above mentioned dramas, but in a slightly different configuration. Thus we have Big Daddy (David Sankuer), Big Mama Amanda (Gillen Brey), Maggie the Cat (Penni Paskett), Blanche Kowalski (Susannah Smitherman), Stanley Kowalski (Dusin Sisney) Laura Dubois (Bonnie Bell), Mitch (Ryan Balint) and last, but not least, Brick (a bizarre hanger-based contraption with the picture of Paul Newman’s face stuck on it). Those of you familiar with Mr. Williams’ brilliant work will notice the name modifications and allusions to his dramas immediately, those who are not will inevitably fail to see the humor in it all. In fact, most of you Williams fans out there will, alas, probably still be searching for the illusive merriment factor in vain. I know I did, and not for the lack of trying or good intentions, even though I know his plays very well indeed. Sadly “The Glass Mendacity” possesses just about the same amount of witty charm as the mutely ever-so-eloquent Brick, with the odds sometimes dangerously turning close to favor the latter. And that is the whole problem with this parody. If you have never seen any of the original Williams’ plays it will appear like a lot of absurd gibberish. If you have, then you can certainly make the connections and you will understand what the characters are hinting at, but for the most part the lines will nonetheless translate into a lot of nonsense, unfortunately of the not-so-funny kind. Having said that, the performances of the individual actors still reflected the high level of artistry we have meanwhile come to expect from the Las Vegas Little Theater. But even their considerable efforts could not quite save the play. Now please do not misunderstand me, it was not completely horrible. There were a few truly comic elements, like Big Mama Amanda and her tales of the “gentleman callers”, who seemed to grow in numbers dramatically with every re-telling of the story, Maggie and her slips for every occasion of the day and night (a woman truly well-dressed, she had one for parties as well as funerals), Laura’s “glass animals”, turned ice-cubes, turned puddles and, of course, let us not forget Brick, the very silent and stubbornly unresponsive mannequin. So if you go in anticipating a comedy equivalent of Tennessee Williams’ brilliantly crafted dramas you will probably be in for a disappointment.  But if you just decide to go with the flow and somewhat adjust your expectations, this can be an experience you might actually enjoy, even if only for nostalgia’s sake.
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