The Big Guy and I rarely go to movies. It’s too expensive once you add snacks, and since most of the movies geared towards adolescent boys rely on volume to sell their stories, we’re just as happy to let the kids watch them on Netflix with the headphones plugged in.
We are religious about our local theater, Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY, however. The title on the playbill is irrelevant. When Hubbard Hall announces a new play, we make plans to see it with and then without the boys.
We were both reminded of the reason why on Saturday night when we went to see Tennessee William’s Glass Menagerie. The most autobiographical of his plays, it depicts the dysfunctional mother and her two dysfunctional older children trying to carve out a living and a life for themselves.
Hubbard Hall is famous for stripping down a play to its bare bones. Occasionally they incorporate elaborate sets into the stage design, but more frequently, minimal props and sets are used. Hubbard Hall has been fortunate to have had a string of wonderful directors and actors, and the less elaborate sets let the audience focus on performances where simplicity works to suspend reality for two hours. It leaves the viewer gripping their seat the entire time as they react to the play and pray for the spell to continue as long as possible.
Saturday did not disappoint. When the daughter Laura’s unicorn and then her heart are broken, I could see other audience members on the verge of tears. When the son leaves and reflects on his abandonment of his family, people next to me were audibly crying.
The play ended almost on a whisper, and, even though it was almost the cost of a movie for four (minus the snacks), the Big Guy and I walked back to the car in awe — as we always are — of how much bang we got for our bucks.