NORWAY – “The Glass Menagerie,” one of American theater’s classics, will be presented April 18-27 by the Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association.

Area organizations and businesses are participating in several community events leading to the production of the Tennessee Williams play (see accompanying story).

“The story illuminates life,” said Tom Littlefield, director. “It is about relationships. To experience this play is to get a fresh perspective on your own life. It speaks to us in a very individual way.”

He said “The Glass Menagerie,” written in 1948, has always been one of his favorite plays. It was the first successful play by Williams and it has been revived on Broadway six times, most recently in 2005.

“As time has gone by, society has become more and more aware of dysfunctional families,” Littlefield said, noting this play deals with such issues.

Littlefield said his four-actor cast “is finding all kinds of things in these characters. They are really digging into what they are saying.”

Leah Haney of Waterford plays Laura, the daughter around whom the conflicts revolve. They arise from the family’s attempts to ensure that the fragile young woman has some kind of secure future with a husband and a home.

Laura finds escape in a world of glass figurines and old phonograph records, knowing she is probably doomed to be alone.

Haney, a graduate of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, has appeared in OHMPAA’s productions of “The Foreigner” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

Scott Maddix of South Paris plays Tom, the brother who supports the family with a warehouse job he hates. He is the narrator who reveals his memories of his mother and Laura.

Tom’s life is drudgery, and so he escapes into drink, music and the movies.

He both loves and hates his family and longs to leave.

Maddix, another OHCHS graduate, played Pseudolus, the lead role in last year’s musical “A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and in the Agatha Christie mystery “And Then There Were None.”

Kathy Davis of Norway has the role of Amanda Wingfield, the mother who loves her children yet pushes them away with her shrill nagging. She is desperate to find security for Laura before Tom deserts them.

Amanda has her own escape to a past when she was a Southern belle and she tries to push Laura into that unsuitable role. The more she pushes, the more Laura retreats from the world.

“The writing is so beautiful. The words are poetry. It is a joy to speak them and to hear them,” said Davis, who has appeared in OHMPAA productions of “Sylvia,” “Rumors” and “You Can’t Take It With You.”

The role of Jim, Laura’s “gentleman caller” whom Tom brings home from work, is played by Daniel Rennie of South Paris, a newcomer to the OHMPAA stage. Jim, too, lives in his past glory days of high school. His vitality and energy are the complete opposite of the Wingfield family.

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