Whod have guessed that the image of a tiny glass unicorn, and the severing of its horn, could still pack such an emotional punch in Tennessee Williams early dating play. Or the sight of shy, homely Laura (Tawny Mertes) blowing out candles one by one can still come attached to such devastating symbolism for her future. These are shards of simple, tender poeticism so hard to find in new play writing. Director Brian Kites production is largely by-the-numbers amping up the dreamy aspects of memory in the original piano and violin underscoring, composed by Allan Moon and with sound designer Jason Duplissea. The introspective approach of Toby Meulis narrator, would-be poet Tom, makes for a lack of style, even competence, in his audience addresses, somewhat remediated when he enters the scenes and battles for solitude and independence with his mother, Amanda (Lori Berg). Theres a depression across the country and Tom, hanging by a thread to his warehouse job, is the only breadwinner. The rest is all Amandas imperious, meddling rectitude, which Berg handles with stoic dignity. Mertes shell-shocked Laura comes with layers of sensitivity, and the scene with her one gentleman caller on which Amanda pins all hope for Lauras future is just perfect, thanks largely to Stephen Van Dorns sweet, cavalier guest, Jim, who arouses such false hope in Laura, beautifully transmitted by Mertes. I am often disappointed, says Jim, but Im never discouraged right before he breaks Lauras heart. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: May 2. Continues through June 8, 2008
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