Credit: Freddie Bledsoe

The Glass Menagerie, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.

To prepare for his role as Tom, narrator and errant son in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, Hans Fleischmann spent more than a year doing nothing—at least when it came to cutting his hair. He ended up with an unholy mess atop his head and a beard to make a rat’s nest look like a model home. “Mothers tended to hold their children’s hands a little tighter while I was around,” Fleischmann says. By opening night the normally clean-cut Fleischmann looked like eight piles of shit—an aptly shocking image to hold Mary-Arrchie’s revisionist production together. In this version, which Fleischmann also directed, Tom escapes the clutches of his smothering southern mother to become a homeless, strung-out drunk—turning Williams’s classic “memory play” into Tom’s guilt-fueled psychotic break. It wasn’t hard to believe Fleischmann was one step away from a total meltdown, giving the play an excruciating urgency.