“The Glass Menagerie” is a classic play by Tennessee Williams that is coming back to New York City on Thursday, October 3 through Sunday, October 20. The limited 21-show engagement puts a disquieting spin on the American classic. The set is surrealistic and dimly lit which puts a distinct horror spin on the story.
Actress Alexandra Rose will take on the iconic role of Laura Wingfield. This show marks her professional theater debut although she has previously starred in both film and commercial projects in New York and LA. Alexandra has trained at Vassar College and the T. Schrieber School under Pamela Scott. She has also studied at HB Studios in New York under the guidance of director, producer, and actor Austin Pendleton.
Alexandra recently discussed her work as an actress via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get into acting and what most drew you to theater?
Alexandra Rose (AR): I was very young when a New York City casting director met me and referred me to several agencies in NY and LA. With my mom’s help, I signed with some agencies, starting auditioning, and got involved in a lot of theater classes. I loved it- and it turns out that this love would follow me for the rest of my life.
MM: You’re also a film actress, so how does the stage differ from three screen?
AR: Acting on stage almost feels stripped bare- there are no cameras, no takes, no editing process. There are rehearsals, of course, but once you’re up on the stage, that’s it- it’s all you.
MM: How did you get involved with this production of “The Glass Menagerie”?
AR: Complete coincidence- being in the right place at the right time. I met Matt de Rogatis (Tom Wingfield) at a local restaurant; talked about acting. He said I reminded him of a character (Laura Wingfield); and this was not the first time I had heard this Laura “character association.” So, I was asked to audition for the role of Laura – 1 audition and 3 grueling callbacks later, I got the part. I couldn’t believe it, and I still don’t.
MM: What most appeals to you about the story and what most intrigues you about the character of Laura?
AR: When I first read TGM, I thought Laura was kind of a sad, pitiable woman. But as I learned more about Tennessee Williams, the playwright, and his purpose for writing TGM (i.e., a kind of semi- autobiographical story about his family, and in particular his sister, who Laura is based on), I’ve come to think that Laura is far less fragile than she seems; her tragedy a consequence of unfortunate, inescapable circumstance. I believe Tennessee Williams wrote “The Glass Menagerie” as an ode to his sister (and his mother) as much as he wrote it as an apology to them. I hope in this role that I can do justice to Mr. William’s memory of his sister.
MM: How did you prepare for this role?
AR: This is my first professional production. While I’ve studied a variety of styles, experimenting with Uta Hagen and Meisner techniques, I’ve also gotten coaching and amazing direction from Austin and Peter. I don’t rely on any particular technique; I use them as tools to inhabit Laura, in and out of rehearsal. While I don’t think my work will ever be done, I do know that I’m getting somewhere when I’m rehearsing a scene, and suddenly, whatever I’m doing or saying feels right, feels natural. At that moment, the lines and character are not something I’ve memorized and considered endlessly, but just the truth of the moment. It feels real.
MM: What can audiences expect from this show that differs from other productions they might have seen?
AR: Our incredible directors Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch are bringing an eerie direction to the story; it will be like looking at the Wingfield family and their drama through the troubled memory of Tom Wingfield. While the story and characters remain the same, I think the production will offer thoughtful insight into the quiet horror and tragedy of how the Wingfield family falls apart.
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Performances start October 3rd at Wild Project on the LES. The discount code is MENAGERIE for 20% off tickets. To learn more, visit the official website: www.theglassmenagerieplay.com