Southeastern to host 24-hour ‘Menagerie’ Theater Festival

Contact: Rene Abadie


     HAMMOND Southeastern Louisiana University students will join with area community participants to stage a 24-hour theater festival March 24 in honor of the 26th annual Tennessee Williams Festival.
     Called “7 Shards of Glass” and inspired by Williams’ autobiographical play “The Glass Menagerie,” the event will be under the artistic direction of James Winter, Southeastern assistant professor of theater, and Taylor McLellan of the Louisiana Center for Theatrical Arts, an area non-profit organization that offers theatrical productions, classes and workshops.
     The festival is sponsored by Alpha Psi Omega, the university theatre honor society, and will begin at 8 p.m. in the Vonnie Borden Theatre in D Vickers Hall. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students with university identification from any area institutions and go on sale March 19-22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Vonnie Borden box office. The box office will also sell tickets at 7 p.m. prior to the show. Advance reservations can be made by calling 985-549-2115.
     The 24-hour format allows students and community members to take part in a fully staged play within the length of one day. More than 25 participants will be involved in the event, including current Southeastern students and alumni. Participants enter into the festival by selecting a role as director, playwright, designer or actor.
     The night before the festival, each of the playwrights will be assigned one of the seven scenes from “The Glass Menagerie” and will reinterpret each scene while staying true to Williams’ original work. Once the playwrights have completed their scripts, the directors and actors will be assigned to their scene and rehearse until performance time. After a day of rehearsal, each scene will be performed in sequence before the audience.
     “I think the audience has the opportunity to witness a pretty wild experiment here,” said Winter. “Taking a piece of classic literature and having 30 or so artists re-invent it in less than 24 hours is ambitious to say the least.”
     According to Winter, one scene from the play will be completely choreographed by Southeastern student Crystal Schayot.
     “We chose to have a choreographer interpret one of the scenes because our plan is to combine as many of the arts as possible in our re-imagining of the play,” Winter  added.
     “This event will be an evening of entertainment through a unique flow of theatrical storytelling,” said McClellan. “It will stretch the boundaries of plastic theater in seven directions, while giving the audience a truly original performance inspired by one of Williams’ most iconic works. This is not a production of ‘The Glass Menagerie,’ but rather seven individual pieces shards of glass so to speak that build on top of each other, displaying what happens when you take this beautiful prism of a script, look at all its angles and refractions, and then let your imagination run wild.”
     “This is the biggest theatrical production offered by our chapter of Alpha Psi Omega in nearly four years,” said Winter, who serves as the organization’s faculty adviser.

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