Glassheart” at Know Theatre: A Bittersweet Tale of Beauty
Review My Molly Alderson
November 19th marked the opening night of Glassheart at the Know Theatre. Written by Reina Hardy and directed by Tamara Winters, Glassheart is an offbeat, mature spin on the beloved tale of “Beauty and the Beast”.
Without revealing too much of the magic, Glassheart is a bittersweet story of life, love and the pursuit of happiness (or, should we say human-ness). The audience follows the journey of The Lamp (i.e. Lumiere played by Hannah Gregory) and her master or ‘boss’ (i.e. the Beast played by Adam Tran) as they brave the big new world; an 800-square-foot- apartment in modern day Chicago.
The reason for the move was, no… not to escape the singing/ pillaging townspeople, but was an idea cooked up by The Lamp, the only remaining servant to the Beast. Gregory is delightful and everything one would expect from a ‘stuck-in-time’ talking lamp. Her accent work is strong, and her delivery is silly yet serious. She is the perfect protagonist and loyal servant/ sidekick to The Beast. And while The Beast is not the focal point of this tale (an interesting twist) Tran’s ‘woe is me’, melodramatic portrayal of the Beast is a lovely compliment to The Lamp who (literally) lights up the room.
The Lamp imagined their move to the big city would help them in their quest to find The Beast’s true love (Beauty) and break the spell. But, The Witch (played by Jodie Linver), cleverly enough doubles as the apartment buildings ‘landlady’, has other plans for the duo. Linver, as the Witch, is remarkable. It feels as if the role is designed for her. From her intentional speech delivery, to her creepy yet somehow endearing demeanor, Linver ‘understood the assignment’ and is a pivotal part of the show’s success.
And, we can’t forget about our modern-day bookstore employee, Aiofe, (derived from Aoibh, meaning beauty in Irish) (played by Julie Locker). But, this version of ‘beauty’ is not sitting by a well and singing to her sheep friends. She’s a quirky, talkative, feminist who gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the modern day. Does she fall in love with The Beast? Does she break the spell? Does she ever find her cat? You’ll have to see the show to find out.
Together the cast members work well together telling this dynamic and complex, twisted tale. Brought to life by exceptional scenic & lighting design (Andrew Hungerford) and on-point cues/directions from Stage Manager and Technical Director (Ben Dudly and Jim Stark) the show feels like a true work of love.
Know Theatre ranked this performance PG, and while there is talking furniture and enchanting set design, the themes and plot of the show feel a bit mature for a youthful audience. I’d rank this closer to a PG-13, as the story may be difficult for someone to follow under the age of 12 (not to mention a few f-bombs, but hey… who hasn’t heard one of those before).
Catch Glassheart November 19th – December 12th at Know Theatre. Remember, proof of vaccination is required at the door and masks must be worn for the duration of the 2-hour performance. For more information, visit Know Theatre’s Glassheart page: https://www.knowtheatre.com/glassheart/