Joel Jackson joins Black Swan’s production of ‘The Glass Menagerie’

Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA have announced that award winning actor and musician Joel Jackson will join the cast of their 2022 production of Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie. 

Jackson will portray Tom Wingfield in the play alongside Mandy McElhinney (Wakefield, Love Child, Paper Giants), and Bridie McKim (The Cherry Orchard, The Heights).

Jackson grew up in rural North Western Australia, and was recognised as the region’s Young Australian of the Year in 2010 and continues to develop programs for regional areas, celebrating the diversity and uniqueness of regional Western Australia. In 2021, Joel created and completed The Lap; A Live Ride, a 45 day long 11,800km motorbike ride around the entirety of WA with his father and mother, raising over $38,000 for Telethon.

In 2021, Joel reprised his role as Detective James Steed in the second season of Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries. Prior to this, Joel played Nick Cassidy in the feature film, I Met a Girl (2021) and Detective McBride in the ABC’s, Mystery Road (2020) which opened the Berlinale TV Festival.

In 2019, Joel co-starred in the Berlin International Film Festival Generation Prize and CinefestOz winning feature film H is for Happiness as Rich Uncle Brian.

The Glass Menagerie will play at His Majesty’s Theatre from 2 to 21 August, 2022. Written by Tennessee Williams it is considered a classic of modern theatre.

Jackson shared that he’d become a fan of the late Paul Newman as a kid, and lapped everything his screen idol had appeared in, a journey that lead him to appreciate the work of Tennessee Williams.

“I remember watching Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke as a kid and thinking, ‘who is that guy?’, instantly Paul became an idol. I watched everything; Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, The Hustler – everything. Then I saw him in Richard Brooks’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and thought, ‘wait, who wrote that?’

“It wasn’t until I hit drama school that Tennessee Williams became the idol. Alongside Sam Shepard, he shares the mantle as my favourite American writer; a muse for my own short stories and music. They’re both able to capture and poeticise the darkest days of someone’s life, but they coax it into a universally understood myth that softly glows and then grows into a wildfire only to be extinguished as quickly as it roared into life.”

“What I’m most looking forward to though is capturing and creating that instantly recognisable sense of memory that is the world of the play. The magic, the whimsy, the melancholic, the tragic, the wonder and the beauty. Creating a universal space where it feels like it’s everyone’s memory, because we’ve all left someone or something behind us on our path to become who we are and, for me, the play asks, “but at what cost?”

Williams’ semi-autobiographical play portrays the transformation of Tom Wingfield from a St. Louis warehouse worker during the depression who can only dream of adventure, to a merchant seaman who wanders the world. Tom’s freedom comes at a cost: he must escape his overbearing mother and his adoring, childlike sister, Laura, who is only free to express herself with the animals in her glass menagerie. When Tom’s attempt to provide Laura with a gentleman caller ends in disaster, he is forced to abandon his sister in order to save himself.

The Glass Menagerie was originally written as a screenplay for MGM, to whom Williams was contracted. The play premiered in Chicago in 1944, and in 1945 won the prestigious New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The Glass Menagerie was Williams’s first successful play; and thrust him into the international spotlight. He is considered to be one of America’s most highly regarded playwrights.

Tickets to the production are on sale now.

OIP Staff

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