Meet Anna Brenner. Anna is a terrific director in from NYC to direct The Glass Menagerie. Read this quick interview to learn more about her process and her approach to the play!
What interested you about The Glass Menagerie?
It's a really special, rare play, one that I knew would be very meaningful to work on. It's almost perfectly constructed and that it sets a high bar for me, cast and crew, to bring it to life--and I love that challenge. The characters are so human, really vulnerable and flawed, and I have a lot of empathy for their struggles. I think so many of us can relate to how the characters' memories and obsessions make it difficult for them to live presently in reality and communicate with those they love. And, vice versa... the present reality is such a struggle they can only thrive inside their delusions. We all can get stuck there, and this play has the potential to wake us up.
Do you approach classic plays differently than you would new plays?
Each project is a bit different, but my intention is almost always the same regardless of if it is a classic or a new play. I want to get to the essence of the play and understand its themes and characters so that I can tell its story as clearly as possible. With a classic you always have to think about what has come before, what expectations the audience might have about the play, and how can the production find itself anew, without referencing the past. When I first started working on classics I realized that I could destroy something beautiful if over-interpreted it, or put my ego before the play. I like finding a balance, finding my own way in and discovering what is there and how to make it feel still very alive and vital.
What questions does this play ask?
How should we live? Can we escape our past? Should we follow our individual desires? How can we live in reality when we're suffering? How can parents best support their children? Can we trust our memory? ....
Does it answer any of them?
By not directly answering them I hope the play will allow the audience to come up with their own answers. I think the play allows us to feel moments of empathy for each character so that the questions aren't answered with judgment, but they remind us how complicated family life is.
What should audiences expect from this production?
They should expect to have an intimate, powerful and entertaining night at the theater. I hope they find beauty in it, and that it awakens them in some way.