KC theater students stage 'vital' drama

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Kilgore College will present a classic of modern American drama in the theater department’s second play of the fall semester.

“The Glass Menagerie” will premiere Thursday, Nov. 15 and continue productions through Sunday, Nov. 18.

Written by acclaimed playwright Tennessee Williams, the play first premiered in 1944 and led to Williams’ rise to stardom.

Theater instructor Micah Goodding said the play, in addition to being well-loved and awarded, was a valuable tool for educating students who work on the production and those who view it.

“‘The Glass Menagerie’ is a play that is an important part of American theater history. It’s vital to our students’ education, not just the students producing it but students who will enjoy it as the audience.”

The play centers on the struggles of narrator Tom Wingfield who works to support his single mother and sister while dreaming of becoming a successful poet.

Goodding said Tom’s experiences with economic hardship will be familiar to modern audiences who know the difficulty of making ends meet. He said audiences can relate to this element of the play, just as audiences could see relate to the tribalism and strife in previous production “Lord of the Flies.”

“Theater that is relevant will always cause you to make those connections. The point for us is not so much to give answers or commentary but instead to start conversations. What we hope is that our patrons will see the play and then have discussions and form an understanding of the world around them.”

Goodding said KC theater students could understand Tom Wingfield’s situation, as some know all too well how difficult it can be to manage life in a single-parent family and pay for college.

In order to provide his students a well-rounded education in theater arts, Goodding assigned some cast members from “Lord of the Flies” to work as crew on “The Glass Menagerie. This, he said, helps them improve a variety of skills, from acting to design, to broaden their education and increase their employability.

While the two plays of the fall semester are very different in subject matter and style, both are fairly well-known. Many have heard of “The Glass Menagerie”, even if they have never seen it, and KC’s production will allow a new generation to experience a dramatic classic.

The play will be in the Van Cliburn Theater in the Ann Dean Turk Fine Arts Center on the KC campus. Tickets are available by visiting www.Kilgore.edu/drama or by emailing BoxOffice@Kilgore.edu.

Goodding said the play contains themes and materials intended for adult discussions so it would not be appropriate for children under age 8.

He added the department will soon release a completely student-produced trailer for the production. Every element of the trailer, including the music, was created by KC students. The previous production also included a trailer, making a new way for KC drama students to express their creativity while developing skills.

The play will feature four performances. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15-17 and a 2:30 p.m. matinee showing on Sunday, Nov. 18.

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