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The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Bestseller!
Author: Tennessee Williams
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 70
Pub. Date: 1998
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822204509
ISBN-13: 9780822204503
Cast Size: 2 female, 2 male

About the Play:

The Glass Menagerie was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

The Glass Menagerie has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues, Male Monologues, Female/Female Scenes, and Female/Male Scenes.

The Glass Menagerie is a full-length drama by Tennessee Williams. The author achieved his first major success with this autobiographical "memory play," which looks at the Wingfield family – frustrated writer Tom, his nagging mother, Amanda, who is often lost in memories of her Southern-belle past, and his painfully shy sister, Laura – and the effect a visit from a "gentleman caller" for Laura has on all their lives. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

The Glass Menagerie is an American classic that tells a tragic family tale of love, bitterness, and abandonment. Amanda Wingfield is a faded, tragic remnant of Southern gentility who lives in poverty in a dingy St. Louis apartment with her son, Tom, and her daughter, Laura. Amanda strives to give meaning and direction to her life and the lives of her children, though her methods are ineffective and irritating. Tom is driven nearly to distraction by his mother's nagging and seeks escape in alcohol and the world of the movies. Laura also lives in her illusions. She is crippled, and this defect, intensified by her mother's anxiety to see her married, has driven her more and more into herself. The crux of the action comes when Tom invites a young man of his acquaintance to take dinner with the family. Jim, the caller, is a nice ordinary fellow who is at once pounced upon by Amanda as a possible husband for Laura. In spite of her crude and obvious efforts to entrap the young man, he and Laura manage to get along very nicely, and momentarily Laura is lifted out of herself into a new world. But this crashes when, toward the end, Jim explains that he is already engaged. The world of illusion that Amanda and Laura have striven to create in order to make life bearable collapses about them. Tom, too, at the end of his tether, at last leaves home. The Glass Menagerie is a haunting play filled with wonderful material for actors and some of the finest scenes in the Williams canon.

The Glass Menagerie had a successful premiere in 1944 at the Civic Theatre in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune critic Claudia Cassidy was credited with championing the work and prompting its move to Broadway in 1945, winning the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play and bringing Tennessee Williams, until then an obscure young playwright, to prominence. A drama of great tenderness, charm and beauty, this play has enjoyed seven Broadway revivals. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, middle school, high school, college , and community theatres around the world.

Cast: 2 female, 2 male

What people say:

"Too many theatrical bubbles burst in the blowing, but The Glass Menagerie holds in its shadowed fragility the stamina of success. This brand new play, which turned the Civic theater into a place of steadily increasing enchantment last night, is still fluid with change, but it is vividly written, and in the main superbly acted. Paradoxically, it is a dream in the dust and a tough little play that knows people and how they tick. Etched in the shadows of a man's memory, it comes alive in theater terms of words, motion, lighting, and music. If it is your play, as it is mine, it reaches out tentacles, first tentative, then gripping and you are caught in its spell." — Claudia Cassidy in her 1944 review of the original production in the Chicago Tribune

"The revolutionary newness of The Glass Menagerie ... was in its poetic lift, but an underlying hard dramatic structure was what earned the play its right to sing poetically. Poetry in the theater is not, or at least ought not be, a cause but a consequence, and that structure of storytelling and character made this very private play available to anyone capable of feeling at all." — Arthur Miller in his autobiography Timebends

About the Playwright:

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983), one of the 20th century's most superb writers, was also one of its most successful and prolific. He was born in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the Episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St. Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evening writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955.

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