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Barter subs 'Glass Menagerie' for 'Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings'

staff report • Aug 3, 2011 at 4:02 AM

When staff at Barter Theatre learned the script for “Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings” would not be completed in time for rehearsals for an early October opening, they chose instead to go with an American classic. “The Glass Menagerie,” by Tennessee Williams, will play Oct. 7 through Nov. 12 on Barter’s Stage II. Thought by many to be an autobiography of Williams’ life, the four-person play focuses on a family living in a tenement apartment in St. Louis during the Depression. Tom Wingfield is a poet and a dreamer. His mother, Amanda, overcome by recollections of her youth as a Southern belle, projects impossible standards on her shy daughter, Laura. Crippled in body and spirit, Laura fixes her devotion upon a world of fragile glass animals. Enter the gentleman caller, Jim O’Connor, who is the embodiment of the real world beyond the Wingfield family’s chosen exile. “Barter is excited to produce a great American play on our great American stage,” said Richard Rose, producing artistic director. “There will also be several school matinees offered and soon, teachers can download a free study guide from our Web site, www.BarterTheatre.com.” Nicholas Piper will direct, with Barter Resident Acting Company members Ashley Campos as Laura Wingfield, Tricia Matthews as Amanda Wingfield and Nathan Whitmer as Jim O’Conner. Tom Wingfield will be played by newcomer Nick Koesters, who has spent the last 17 years performing professionally in more than 60 productions in northeast Ohio. “I’m truly excited to get the chance to work on this great American play that is just as relevant today as it was when it was written nearly 70 years ago,” Piper said. “Like all great plays, the themes are timeless and universal and we have a wonderful cast with which to tell this story. Campos, Matthews and Whitmer are giving stellar performances in ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ and I am excited to work with them.” Campos is Babette in “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as Tammy in “Saving Old Smokey” — both currently in production at Barter. She was last seen as Clio in “Xanadu” on Barter’s Main Stage earlier this year. Matthews is playing Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” and Jinks in “Saving Old Smokey.” “Whitmer is making a name for himself as he wows audiences with his portrayal of Gaston, as well as Hannay in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The 39 Steps,’ playing in rep at Barter Stage II,” added P i p e r. Rose said Barter Theatre most likely will produce “Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings” at a later date, when the script is ready for production. For more information on “The Glass Menagerie” or any of Barter’s other shows, call the box office at (276) 628-3991 or visit w w w. B a r t e r T h e a t r e . c o m .

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