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Summary of Adjudicators Comments for ‘The Glass Menagerie’ by Tennessee Williams presented by Compántas Lir

The adjudicator, Anna Walker ADA, said that she adjudicated at a confined All-Ireland, and saw an amazing version of the play Proof, which was presented by Compántas Lir, so she said it was lovely for her to begin her adjudication with their version of ‘The Glass Menagerie’.
She first of all commented on the music in tonight’s production, which she liked and then said that she loved the texture of the couch on stage, which was like velvet.
Also she said the “beautiful unicorn mobile,” and the small glass on the table, was beautifully done.
Ms Walker thought the acting was strong enough, but sometimes tonight she “felt the projections were a little jarring,”.
“Desperation anchors this play, and I felt that the director caught most of the elements of despair, and there is gentle humour in the play which was captured beautifully,” said the adjudicator.
However she said she felt the set worked against the claustrophobic quality in the play, and she would like to have seen more of that feeling of claustrophobia.
She liked the scenes of the mother and the gentleman caller, which she said broke the tension, which was really important in the play.
She questioned the idea of Tom being an older man in the production, while also praising the actor, and she said she would have liked the outside of the set to have a greater effect on the play, and to give it greater visibility.
The adjudicator liked the pace of the production, and thought the transitions were really fluid, with good rhythm.
“I thought the darkened scenes which were very difficult to do, work very well and the scene on the floor where Laura was with the gentleman caller was well calibrated,” she said. “Tenderness was captured, and the kiss was full of tenderness too.”
She said the play had “really high production values,” and was visually very engaging, and again said the lighting and sound was simply splendid.
“The delicate soundscape was a vital component of the play, and the music was excellent and represented beauty and brokenness, which is what this play is all about,” said the adjudicator.
She thought that Amanda, who was played by Liz Hession had a tremendous grip on reality and was played more earthy and with a grounded quality.
“At times that worked against the momentum of the play, but Amanda’s love of her children is never in doubt, and that comes through, and she was a woman doing her best, and you felt her disappointment at her children,” said the adjudicator.
She said that in the second half, Amanda was an absolute vision, due to her new dress.
“This actress could have allowed a girlish quality to come out a little more, and that would have helped her character quite a lot, and a change in vocal pitch would have helped,” said Ms Walker. “I loved her pace, and the humour in that.”
She said there is something beautiful about the actor Vincent Moran, in his portrayal of Tom, and that playing the narrator is difficult, but he had excellent physicality, and was an excellent drunk as well.
“His throwaway lines were marvellous, and I felt this character was haunted and that was captured beautifully,” she said.
She also said “Well done,” to Darragh Moran as the gentleman caller, and said he had a lovely stage presence, and good natural vitality.
She told Deana McGuire who played Laura that she handled the poetic language in the play beautifully.
“I liked the gently suggested limp, and she played her character well,” said Ms Walker.
She particularly commented about a scene when Laura was looking at herself in a mirror, being beautifully realised by the director.
“It might have been the first time she looked at herself,” said the adjudicator. “The tenderness of the kiss was beautiful, and we felt her sense of hope and her sense of desolation when she heard about Betty.”
The adjudicator said that Deana’s performance was totally organic, natural and unforced and would have been so easy to push that over, but she held it back.
“Some of the directorial choices worked against feelings of memory and delicacy, but the general humour and the poetry of the language was caught and the energised and focussed cast gave their all,” said Ms. Walker.