Reading a play, make an analysis of that play, and then watch that play in flesh is challenging. It reminds me the feeling I have when I watch movies adapted from a novel I read. It is tricky because you know what is the story; it is hard because you have already created a representation of that story in your imagination. And it is always very easy to be. I have these feelings when I began to watch the play.
A narrator who is talking to the audience in a play always seems a weakness of the playwright to me. It is somehow a cue that he/she is not well enough to tell his story within his/her characters. But for Williams, it is not the case. She made a great choice to use a multi-character that is both the narrator and the actor. The challenge in this multi-character choice is ability to attach and detach the characters in different contexts (narrator and the son). I think the director manages these transitions well with the detailed character work.
I found a great match between characters and the actor/actress choice. Amanda, with her grotesque behaviors, and hysteric voice draws an outline of an anxious parenthood. On the other hand, Laura, with her innocent and shy gestures gives an idea of the femininity in that period. Female is far behind the social life. It is a kind of class struggle. For Laura, it is more than that; She is struggling with herself. For the whole play we see a reflexive struggle of the characters. These struggles fed by memories, and experiences. Mother with her bad choice, son with inherency of his father, daughter with her chronic physical problem. There is a strong depression theme undergoing through the whole play; a futureless future. Tom, Laura and Amanda are becoming the concreteness of the theme till the end. There is only one hope and tension in the play; Jim O’Connor. Even though he is another looser, he has the potential to be the future. He is the character of the one who solved the life. He knows how to talk (rhetoric), what to study (technology). He even has got the notion of a value; of democracy. He is the capitalist version of the Jesus Christ. (I like this analogy when we talked in class analysis).
The stage is successful as means of the division between the parts of the home. I found the stage classic rather than an experimental one. The fake smoking choice seems peaceful to me. But in my past audience experiences, I saw plays where the players smoke, or drink in order to give a more genuine feeling. It is again a dejavu moment to the class work. We tried to give life and meaning to the invisible objects in several exercises. Those exercises were background works to the play and to the stage work we pursue afterwards.
Glass menagerie is a snapshot of a period of broken dreams. There are two tension points in the play, the coming of Jim O’ Connor and the moment of the breaking of the unicorn; It is the moment of the fatality, the unfortunate destiny, depression, etc. It is the climax of the play. In general the play succeeds in giving the ambience of the depressed years of America. When we return to home after the play, my friend who has no idea about the play before said ‘it is a nice but depressive play, huh?’.