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My take: Mr. Owens is a compelling and gifted performer, especially when he steps away from recreating the work of earlier soul and rhythm and blues giants and allows us to see and hear his own takes on these classics. When that happens, it's magical.
|The Two-Character Play|
My take: There are so many different events celebrating the life and work of this true St. Louis original that, rather than list them individually, I'm gong to suggest that you visit the festival web site and check them out yourself. Upstream's production of The Glass Menagerie (see below) and Midnight Company's local premiere (as far as I know, anyway) of The Two-Character Play (pictured)—a late Williams work that's rarely seen—have gotten some good notices, but by all means check out all the offerings.
|The Glass Meangerie|
Photo: Brian Wochniak
My take: This radical re-thinking of the Williams classic starts with the assumption that, as a "memory play," it need not concern itself too much with realism. So, in this version, Tom is an elderly man man near the end of his life instead of a younger man still finding himself. Both Tom (J. Samuel Davis) and his mother Amanda (Linda Kennedy) are black while his sister is white, and the sister in this production is actually disabled instead of simply frail. As Steve Callahan writes in his review for KDHX, this doesn't necessarily work at all times. "The Upstream production of The Glass Menagerie will leave you wondering about many things," he says. "But that's good! Do see it. It's well worth your time." And, of course, there's the fact that Davis and Kennedy are very accomplished actors.