“Gordon Edelstein, whose past productions at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre include the best ‘Uncle Vanya’ I’ve ever seen, has brought his version of Tennessee Williams’s masterpiece ‘The Glass Menagerie’ from Connecticut to the Laura Pels Theatre, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway house. It should have gone to Broadway instead, and perhaps it will someday. In the meantime, though, you must see this show at once. No matter how well you know the play, you’ll feel as though you’re watching it for the first time. Every line, every pause, every gesture is as fresh as a shaft of sunlight. Mr. Edelstein has added a surprise of his own to the oft-told tale of the Wingfield family, who come north to St. Louis in search of a new life and find themselves trapped in the quicksand of shabby gentility and fading hope. Since ‘The Glass Menagerie’ is an autobiographical memory play narrated by Tom Wingfield, Williams’s alter ego, Mr. Edelstein sets the action in a single playing space designed with penny-plain restraint by Michael Yeargan that doubles as the tenement apartment of the Wingfields and—here’s the surprise—a grubby New Orleans hotel room to which Tom has fled in order to write the very play that we are seeing. Needless to say, that’s not what Williams had in mind, and on paper it may sound like an overingenious directorial conceit, but in performance it heightens to a breathtaking degree the immediacy of Tom’s recollections.”
Who — or what — really controls your mind?