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The Glass Menagerie
Transcript of The Glass Menagerie
And some other theater terms... The Glass Menagerie The Star of Our Show...
Tennessee Williams "America's most popular dramatist"
Born Thomas Lanier Williams, March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi
Had relationship issues with father - preferred work over parenting
Moved to St. Louis, Missouri and family life changed drastically
Published 1st story at age 16
Bachelor of Arts from State University of Iowa in 1938
Also first year published under nickname
The Glass Menagerie - turning point in career
Died February 25, 1983
Choked on a plastic bottle cap and died alone at the Hotel Elysee in NYC Williams as a Playwright
(Yes, it is spelled that way) 1940 - Battle of Angels
1944 - The Glass Menagerie
New York Drama Critics Circle Award
Sidney Howard Memorial Award
1946 - 27 Wagons Full of Cotton
1947 - A Streetcar Named Desire
Pulitzer Prize winner
1948 - Summer and Smoke
1955 - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
New York Drama Circle Award
Pulitzer Prize winner
1980 - Clothes for a Summer Hotel
Based on passionate affair between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda Dramatizes the myth of the Old South
Human longing for ideal order of being, denied by harsh realities of life and time
Animal promiscuity vs. ladylike fastidiousness
Physical vs. spiritual needs
Ideal past vs. painful present
Character, mood, and condition more than plot
Cinematic techniques undermine traditional conventions
Essential condition of Williams character:
Sensitive creature w/ no home in alien world
Psychological Realism: fondness of psychoanalytical approach to character
Wants "a new, plastic theatre which must take the place of the exhausted theatre of realistic conventions if the theatre is to resume vitality" Cat on a Hot Tin Roof A Streetcar Named Desire The Glass Menagerie Some of the Hits... Lighting Reflects meaning of play
Laura has clearest pool of light on her
Similar to early religious portraits
Atmosphere is radiant Music Single tune is repeated to underline certain emotions
Circus-like music - light, delicate, and (to Williams) "the saddest"
Vitality of life and sorrow, carried by wind, changing all the time
Link between narrator and subject
Nostalgia, condition, and spirit
Focus on her and glass Projected Slides Magic lantern slides with images or titles
Gives values to point to scene
Meaning not only in spoken word
Screen gave primary point to scene Drama A Deeper Look at Williams' Writing These are just a few of his plays... Structure: 7 memory scenes framed by present-day monologues of Tom Wingfield, divided into 2 parts: (1) Preparation for Gentleman Caller; (2) The Gentleman Caller
The point of reference for characters' lives is always the past, rarely the present and hardly ever the future
Amanda's pervasive memories of her Southern girlhood transport the play's events beyond the commonplace to evoke an idyllic and ideal world of romance
Dreams always permeated with images of separation, loss, loneliness, humiliation, and pain
Underlying paradigm: ironic pattern of romantic expectations, momentary fulfillment, and ultimate loss
Pattern of initial excited anticipation and ultimate loss is encapsulated particularly well in father's sardonic postcard: "Hello--Goodbye."
Life is series of losses, beginning with inflated expectations and ending either in confrontation with its existential limitations, denial, or everlasting regret
Laura's glass menagerie is the objectification of her fragile nature and her otherworldly beauty
Amanda: Archetype of the Great Mother
Religious imagery: water into wine, escape from coffin
Laura: saint, cloistered nun, chaste virgin, madonna, sister
Tom: images of fragmentation, suffocation (coffin), and alienation, emblem for the modern malaise to find meaning in meaninglessness; perennial doubter
Jim: evokes both multiple romantic possibilities, both the ideal and the real, invested with multiple heroic images The Glass Menagerie Ms. Swank - AP English 11 Literary composition involving conflict, action, crisis, and atmosphere designed to be acted by players on a stage in front of an audience (can include film)
Things to consider when studying drama:
Characters (true-to-life or caricatures? attitudes/gestures?)
Setting (appropriate, authentic?)
Purpose (history, comedy, tragedy, problem play, farce, comedy of manners, fantasy, melodrama, etc.)
Lighting (atmosphere created?)
Music (intradiegetic or extradiegetic?)
Images (how presented? corporeal body or incorporeal idea?) "The Wounded Genius"