Mel Page’s costume design befits the era, from Tom’s tan suit to Laura’s dishevelled indoor clothes and Amanda’s ridiculously formal dress she puts on for the gentleman caller. This kind of attention to detail shows that this production is determined to present to its audience The Glass Menagerie as it might once have been seen.
Tennessee Williams’ ‘memory play’ The Glass Menagerie, is better seen with a little context. Eamon Flack, director of the Malthouse’s production playing now until 5 June, recognises the importance of the autobiography behind the play and has put important information into the program guide, which is worth reading before entering the theatre.
The Malthouse’s The Glass Menagerie only fails when it doesn’t vividly recreate Williams’ script. In this way, it is a little trapped by the limitations of representation: a slight delay on the projector screens harms the seamless transitions, Riley’s accent never quite comes across as believably Southern and sometimes the humour detracts from the anguished undertone of the play, pulling audiences out of it. It is, otherwise, an engrossing production with some excellent performances and an attractive set design.
In the play 'The glass Menagerie" written by Tennessee Williams, legends which are short phrases or words, and images are projected on a special screen device that is specified for this certain play.
Reality in The Glass Menagerie In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams uses the roles of the members of the Wingfield family to highlight the controlling theme of illusion versus reality.
The opening of the play ‘Glass Menagerie’ let the audience know about various elements of the play such as themes, relationships, characters and dramatic conventions.
All human beings seem to always look back on the ‘glory days’ to relive this glory. Everyone like to recollect memories, assuming their happy ones, and have them back again. The play, just like our lives, is filled with possible escapes. Each character tries to escape form their life but end up tangled in their problem. Williams uses the theme of memory and escape throughout “The Glass menagerie” to demonstrate the hopelessness and despair of each character’s dreams and the inevitable failure of their escapes. Could this be Williams way of suggesting that solving the problems is the right way to go?
As it was noted that each character has a way to escape its life, we need to understand why some of the characters prefer to live in the past. Tom clearly sees his life with his family and his job at the warehouse as a prison. In addition, the responsibility that he has towards his mom and his sister makes him feel cramped and suffocated. The fire escape haunts Tom since the beginning of the play, where at the end he follows the footsteps of his father. Amanda lives in denial since her husband abandoned her. Ever since she has been living in remembering ‘the glory days’ when she had seventeen gentlemen callers in Blue Mountain. This was a time for Amanda when she was popular, rich and the center of attention. She likes to deny the fact that she is a single mother with a crippled daughter and unsuccessful son. As for Laura, she likes to live in her shell behind the glass menagerie to avoid contact with the people in the world outside. Her physical illness scares her of having any social life. If her own father left her behind, why would strangers want to have any contact with her? Jim, too, is escaping his life although he is the one realistic character in the whole play. As Jim was the high school hero, he ended up being an employee in a warehouse. The case of Jim and Amanda is rather similar, because both had high hopes for themselves and they ended up with a life that they never imagined.
Overwhelming features surrounds both homes: in The Glass Menagerie, frightening tenements and dark alleys; in Death of a Salesman, tall apartment buildings that block out the light....
There are some very noticeable symbols that can be analyzed when studying "The Glass Menagerie." The first is the actual glass menagerie that represents the fragility of the Wingfield's dreamlike existence....
The use of music is another accent to emphasize certain emotions. The recurring tune of “The Glass Menagerie” is used several times to “give emotional emphasis to suitable passages. Laura uses her old records to retreat in her own little world. When Tom started telling their story at the beginning of scene one music started playing in the background to give a feel of the sad, empty life that took place after the departure of Mr. Wingfield.
Williams' parallels this play to his true life experience with his own family, which makes The Glass Menagerie an even more tragic version of what happens to a family when love is lost and abandonment is reality.