Zachary Quinto spoke recently about his performance in The Glass Menagerie, and how he originally got into acting.
Quinto is appearing in a remake of Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie, where he has taken on the role of Tom, the son of a “fading Southern belle.”
His character Tom is both the narrator and participant The Glass Menagerie, and the two roles bring their own challenges, which for Quinto is a function of the language used in the play. “There’s a fine line, I think, when you’re speaking such opulent language,” said Quinto. “I always felt the need to measure the connectivity of it, the groundedness of it, and it always has to be rooted in emotional truth, even though it’s so heightened. So the production is stylized and the language is very heightened, so always finding that balance and keeping it rooted I think is an ongoing calibration and I kind of love playing with it.”
Quinto described the character he is playing and how he interpreted Tom. “Tennessee helped me out a lot,” said Quinto. “In his description of Tom he says he is not remorseless, but in order to survive he must act without pity. I just started to really think about what that means and I can understand what that means in my own life in relationships and different experiences I’ve had where I’ve had to choose myself and I think that’s the humanity of the play and that’s the humanity of the character and I didn’t need to think beyond that. Everybody can understand that and anybody who’s ever really strived for something or really defined some level of success for themselves can understand that.”
The thirty-six-year-old actor has been acting since he was a child, dating back to when his mother started him in musical theater. “It happened because my mom was looking for an outlet for me, she was a single mom [Quinto’s father died when was seven] and she wanted to make sure I had some place to go after school,” said Quinto. “So I started studying and performing. And my music teacher in fourth grade sent some note home to my mom saying you should look at auditions for this performing group and my mom took me, I had no idea, I had never performed in my life. so it was getting thrown into something, but once I got thrown in, I was like this is my jam, I knew right away.”
Quinto first performed in the Wizard of Oz as a munchkin when he was ten or eleven. His dream musical role would be that of Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), who was a fictional Victorian serial killer. “One of the roles I could really identify with that I really wanted to play was Sweeney Todd,” said Quinto. “I really want to do that when I’m old enough, which is probably in another ten years.”
The Glass Menagerie is playing at the Booth Theater in New York City.