Ten Directions / Paul Lucas Productions, Bouffon Glass Menajoree

Review in Issue 21-1 | Spring 2009

Guess who’s coming to dinner? You? Or you? Or maybe – yes, you! This bouffon-clown interpretation of Tennessee Williams’ ‘melancholy family drama’ takes place, as does the original, entirely inside the ‘meagre apartment’ of the Wingfield family, which comprises single mother Amanda, son Tom, and ‘crippled’ daughter Laura – obsessive collector of the little glass animals that give the play its name.

The production takes Laura’s suggested physical and mental disabilities and plays on society’s fears of those attributes, (glass)blowing them up to a grotesque extreme. Bouffon? You ain’t seen nothin yet… Bulging bruisepurple eyes, hair that no self-respecting bird would dream of nesting in, skin the colour of a two-day corpse, blood-stained hospital gown flapping open to reveal a bulging nappy. What a doll!

The story centres around the impending arrival of Laura’s first ‘gentleman caller’, giving our three bouffons the opportunity to play with the audience, rather as a trio of alleycats might play with a house full of baby mice. At first this play is gentle and teasing (a ringing telephone is passed through the audience: ‘it’s for you-oo.’). Then our three move into the torture phase as the process of finding Laura’s elusive suitor gets into gear, and finally they move in for the kill.

The game-playing always keeps the balance between edginess and entertainment. These three are cool and canny cats, and it is no surprise to learn that the director of the piece is Eric Davis (aka Red Bastard), audience manipulator extraordinaire.

What’s most interesting is that ultimately, this grotesque interpretation is truer to the spirit of Williams’ play than many a modern-day revival. Perfectly-pitched theatre for lonely hearts everywhere.

Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-1
p. 32