Disillusion- Glassiano Creates Beautiful Imagery On Stage

Meaghan Flaherty

It is very easy for a human being to make assumptions about somebody’s character based solely on that person’s mistakes. Disillusion, presented by Glassiano Productions, explores one former prison guard’s judgments of others as he relives the last moments of two inmates on death row; like Groundhog Day, but without Bill Murray and intensely dramatic. Disillusion succeeds in using beautiful lighting and sound transitions to create not only thought provoking theater, but gorgeous images that will stick with you.

The play begins as prison guard Eric Abbott (Jake William Smith) awakens on death row as a man whom he himself had executed. He attempts to figure out why he is there, and how he can get back to his wife and daughter before his imminent execution, but awakens once again after his execution to find himself trapped in yet another dead mans’ last day. The audience is taken into Eric’s memories of his daughter through excellently timed and placed sound and lighting cues. The memories exist in a red wash, then snap back the present suddenly and without warning, keeping the audience on their toes visually.

As the days pass, the transitional cues once again create the perfect segway. As his first execution approaches, we are left with the image of William Smith lying on the table in center stage, talking about how they’ve made a mistake, as he is drowned out by intensely growing light and sound which once again snaps back to normal as he awakens the next day. These cues, as mentioned above, were highly, highly effective. Not only did they create the perfect shift from moment to moment, but these beautiful images gave me shivers. The most gorgeous moment takes place at the very end (which I won’t spoil, because the journey to the end is quite riveting); We see William Smith, accompanied by the prison guard (James Graziano) and a Priest (Chris Jaworski), and as they talk to him, he is talking to his daughter, whom he reaches for. As he reaches out, the light (which have been progressively fading) switches to a spot directly on his smiling face and outstretched hand as the intense sound cuts out. This moment was not only beautiful, but also the perfect ending.

The cast (including Mekdes Teshome) all work very well together as an ensemble. There were moments when I wish that William Smith had more urgency towards his situation; he seems to surrender to what is happening very easily. His performance overall is very good, but that touch of continued urgency and anger could have taken him just that step further to realism in this non-realistic situation. Disillusion overall is stunning, surprising to uncover, and entertaining. The thought provokingly dark script and the journey it takes you on is well worth the unpleasant look into the human condition.


Presented by Glassiano Productions

Written by Martin Glassford, James Graziano, and Jake William Smith

Directed by Martin Glassford

Sound Design by Nick Kormanicki