Play about a dysfunctional family is challenge for cast

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Dewey Scott-Wiley wanted to expand her actors' literary sense.

"I don't think we've ever done Tennessee Williams here at USC Aiken. I thought it was high time to do an American classic," said Ms. Scott-Wiley, who is directing the student production of Williams' The Glass Menagerie from Thursday through Oct. 5 at the University of South Carolina Aiken's Etherredge Center.

The Glass Menagerie is about a single woman and her two adult children who are too fragile to face the harsh realities of the times.

In setting the play, Ms. Scott-Wiley will employ various techniques to enhance the acting and Williams' dialogue, which portrays a fragile, dysfunctional family that could shatter at any moment.

She will employ the use of fabrics on the stage, which, depending on the light, will appear transparent or opaque. The furniture and costumes will also lend to that fragile feel.

Though Ms. Scott-Wiley had her own set of challenges in creating the right tone, the actors in The Glass Menagerie had hurdles.

For the four actors, the most difficult part of the production is the language of the playwright.

"He uses poetic language," said Jim Armstrong, who plays Tom. "You have to find the lyricism, the musicality. He employed the right words; they were very planned -- every word, every syllable has meaning."

The Glass Menagerie will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Oct. 5.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and USC Aiken faculty and staff and $7 for students. For more information, call (803) 641-3305.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.


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