The Glass Menagerie
The theme of this play is memories. This is demonstrated through the plot, characters, and setting. The play is a reflection of memories that Tom tries to breakaway from but he cannot because they have such a strong hold of him. He described the way he left the life he portrayed as misery or something other than paradise. The sign of the Paradise nightclub, in the background, was a symbol that paradise was somewhere other than where they were. Tom also tells how his father worked for the telephone-company and fell in love with long-distance and sent a telegram one-day that said hello and goodbye.
Amanda lived on memories also. The picture of Tom and Laura’s father was hanging dominantly on the wall to symbolize his great significance to their family. She loved him very much and remarked that his grin could always brighten a room. With him leaving without really closing any doors she seemed to be waiting for his return.
The setting also displayed memories. The fact that there was really no door to enter the house and the lack of a door to the kitchen is how memories work. In memories only the things that are important are remembered or talked about.
Tom is the main character of the play because he grew the most and actually left while Amanda and Laura stayed where they were. Tom said he was following in his father’s footsteps when he chose to join the Merchant Marines. His father was also a service man, but that was not why he claimed to be following him. The fact that he left the family and broke away was how he was following his father. It was as if he actually understood how his father could just up and leave. However, he did not just forget all about his mother and Laura, because this play is done on memories. It showed how much he actually loved his family. This also backs the thesis because he can not escape the family because even though he was no longer with them they were still a big part of him.
The performers did an excellent job. Amanda was so dedicated To Laura that there was nothing she would not do to gentleman callers for her daughter. Roselee actually became Amanda in this production and was believable because you could actually feel the love she had towards her daughter and toward even her son. She showed how she would get so frustrated at Laura that she would take it out on Tom by getting on him for the littlest things such as the way he would chew his food. The tone of her voice when she was talking about Laura having the handicap that she was just beginning to accept, was real. Not only was her tone of voice right but her facial expressions were of concern and question.
Amanda’s performance of Laura was believable to a point. When she would go to the glass collection she was lost in her own world. Another good time was when she was questioned about not going to college like she was supposed to her expressions were exactly like a child in trouble. Amanda did not, however, play the cripple part very well; although, the limp was there it was not that noticeable. The fact that she had braces was another bad point; they did not fit the time frame at all.
Barry played the part of Tom believable but there were some parts that were actually over acted. When he would get into arguments with Amanda he would show the emotions of a person fed up with his life. When he explained how he was not happy working at the warehouse was very believable. The mentality of someone not happy with his work or his life was clearly delivered by his tone of speech and gestures he seemed to be truly drawn from happiness of finding is calling in life or his family.
There were a lot of symbolic elements in the scenery. The picture of their father on the wall held a lot of symbolic power. The picture seemed to be watching every little detail of the play as if it were an actual actor.
The glass collection was also a big part of the play. The collection was Laura’s own little world. The unicorn in the collection could symbolize Laura. The unicorn was unique to all the other pieces in the collection and Laura was unique to everyone else in the play. Laura was in fact the unicorn of the play.
The old phonograph player was also a symbol in the play. It was the only thing that was left of their father other than the picture. Laura would play the old music when she was trying to be left alone it was another escape for Laura.
The lighting was done in accordance of the play. It would focus in on certain parts of the play that the director wanted to highlight; however, the audience could have been focusing on other elements of the show so it may have got in the way. When the electricity was supposedly turned off the lighting was excellent in complementing the candles. The little candle could have never lit up the room by itself and the lights did not take away from the candles. The lighting worked well for the last scene and was very appropriate.