Erin Karll, Contributing Critic - St. Louis
Ten Directions is a theatre company that originated in New York, but moved St. Louis Missouri recently. Connecting with the theatre company Young Liars lead to this production of “Bouffon Glass Menajoree: a parody of the beloved American classic.” Take that ‘parody’ as a warning. This production takes every extreme twist and turn while spinning the story of the Wingfield family.
The small and intimate space of the Centene Center for the Arts room fits this production perfectly. The actors filled every inch of space again and again with entertainment and energy. They interact with the audience and make it a roller coaster from the opening entrance to the big finale.
Berg, Crabtree, and German are the writers of this piece, but also the three performers taking the stage.
The characters were split into a Narrator and a character from “The Glass Menagerie.” Lynn Berg plays “B-Dawg” and “Tom,” Audrey Crabtree plays “Hati Pedestrian” and “Laura,” and Aimee German plays “Joyce Depp” and “Amanda.” “B-Dawg,” “Hati Pedestrain,” and “Joyce Deep” work smoothly together as a team to move the scenes along, but also bring the audience in and create some hilarious improvisation moments. Pausing long enough to draw the right amount of attention and pulling from earlier interactions to bring more humor to a new part of the show. The comedic timing was amazing between this team.
The space is small, so each audience member had a moment of attention. Some more then others as one lucky member becomes a part of the cast in the midst of the show. While not a true black box style theatre, you are still transformed to another place as you walk in and see the set designed by Eric Davis, who also is the director. A web of copper and laundry set the mood for the experience. Lighting by James Wulfsong added an extra element to certain menagerie scenes with a splash of color. Smaller venues often get my eye with lighting.
If you enjoy small local theatre experiences that draw on audience participation while comfort zones are smashed, this is the show for you. If you enjoy stand-up comedy and improv groups that don’t filter this production will be your cup of tea. Have a beer, often provided by “B-Dawg,” and enjoy this extreme take on a classic American tale. I’ll give everyone a nudity and abuse warning now. While done tastefully it was a little jarring in such a small setting during some scenes.
The production runs March 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Centene Center for the Arts on Olive St. in St Louis. Showtime is 8 pm. Run time is around 90 minutes. Tickets can be found on brownpapertickets.com.