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Transcript of English Project
Based on short story "Portrait of a Girl in Glass" and his screenplay, "The Gentleman Caller"
Williams had a doubt about the production, not expecting it to last more than two days
It provided an early testing ground for Williams since he wanted to do something new.
The Glass Menagerie is loosely autobiographical representing William's real life family through the characters.
Tennessee Williams -- Tom, Edwina( mother) -- Amanda, Rose (sister) -- Laura
Nickname "Blue Roses" refers directly back to William's real life sister.
Williams actually worked in a shoe warehouse in St. Louis, and there actually was a disastrous evening with the only gentleman caller who ever came for Rose.
Thomas, Tennessee William's real name, faces a conflict between responsibility for his family and living his own life. The Glass Menagerie was made into various films, such as the 1950 film, directed by Irving Rapper, the 1966 TV film, the 1973 TV film, and the 1987 film directed by Paul Newman.
The 1950 film of The Glass Menagerie was the first of Tennessee Williams plays that was adapted for the screen and made into a movie.
Tennessee Williams was unhappy with the casting go Gertrude Lawrence as Amanda and called it a “dismal error” and a “dishonest” adaptation of his work.
Although Tennessee was not satisfied, the film was broadcasted twice on TV in 1966. .
In December of 1944, The Glass Menagerie was staged in Chicago and when the play first opened, the audience was poor while the Chicago critics raved about it.
Eventually, The Glass Menagerie was playing to full houses. In March of 1945, the play moved to Broadway and earned Williams fame, fortune, and critical respect, and it marked the beginning of a successful run that would last for another ten years. CHARACTER LIST SETTINGS The entire play takes place in the Wingfield's apartment
When Tom begins his narration, he takes the audience back to the 1930s. Tom: The narrator of the story (in essence Tennessee Williams)
Amanda: Tom and Laura’s mother
Laura: Amanda’s shy daughter and Tom’s sister
Jim: Laura’s High-school crush • The play is from the Tom’s point of view recalling events from his past.
• He recalls his mom Amanda who nagged him constantly about work and called him names because he was tired of working in the warehouse; Tom wanted to go out and find his own freedom.
• Amanda also wants Laura to marry a rich suitor that will have a future and will save her family from their current condition.
• Tom’s dad left their family when he was young; leaving his mother trapped in the past, where she constantly mentions the admirers she had as a young girl.
• Therefore when Tom is away from home frequently, Amanda compares Tom to his dad, explaining that Tom wants to flee from home as well, but tells him to wait until they find a suitor for Laura.
•Laura a shy girl who spends most of her time with the glass menagerie.
•When she hears that her old high school crush Jim is coming for dinner she starts socializing. Jim breaks the glass unicorn in her menagerie and then tells her that he is engaged.
•Tom leaves his family behind never to visit, but he could not leave his sister because the reflection off a glass always seemed as if she was next to him. Summary The Glass of Menagerie is a play about a family, where each character faces his/her conflicts in society. Tom was unable to pursue his dreams because of the responsibility he was given to maintain the household. Amanda is not able to forget about her past, she wishes that her daughter was as a daring as she was; she is also worried for her son having the same personality as her ex-husband. Laura and Amanda have a peculiar relationship to the world, they cannot accept reality, and on the other hand Tom is struggling to maintain his acceptance to reality. Laura’s idea of reality is through her glass menagerie where objects are delicate and delightful. Amanda wants to revisit her past to make better decisions. Tom was trapped wanting to live on his on and explore freedom. Tennessee Williams created a remarkable play with nostalgia and memory. The Glass Menagerie: The glass menagerie represents Laura’s personality a delicate and traditional young girl, who can be accepted if an individual look at her through the correct spectrum of light. It also exemplifies the world through her imagination.
The Unicorn:The unicorn in Laura glass menagerie is a creature that is extinct, a creature that is part of a fantasy world. When Jim kisses Laura the unicorn falls breaks its horn, changing into a normal horse. This represents Jim admitting Laura to reality allowing her to be normal by destroying her.
Blue Roses: It portrays the kindness Jim showed to Laura in high school, it also relates to Tennessee Williams sister “Rose”
The Coffin: Tom attends a magic show where is locked into a coffin, this coffin represents he is trapped, suffocating, and unhappy with his life.
The Fire Escape: The fire escape symbolizes an escape, an escape from all the frustration and problems. Tom frequently utilizes the fire-escape to evade his conflicts by smoking a cigarette or going to the movies. Laura scene where she trips on the fire escape demonstrates how she cannot escape from her problems. SYMBOLS Plays and Films The drama won various awards, such as the annual award on the first ballot cast by the local newspaper and magazine reviewers.
In 1945, the “Glass Menagerie” won nine votes by the New York Drama Critics Circle. Additionally, the Glass Menagerie won the Donaldson Award and The Sidney Howard Memorial Award both in the year of 1945.
TV Guide rated the film three out of four stars- "This bittersweet, delicate story is handled with care by director Rapper, but the accent is placed more on laughs than on pensive study”.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times disliked the film- “"Apparently, Mr. Williams . . . was persuaded to 'fatten' the role of the faded and fatuous mother to suit the talents of Gertrude Lawrence . . . well known as an actress with a brilliant and devastating flair for brittle high comedy and satire” Reviews WHY ARE WE READING THIS PLAY? We are reading the Glass Menagerie because it is a great domestic tragedy that contains a general condition of pathos, rather than a tragic event. The Glass Menagerie is different than other plays because it contains a chronic social and economic conflict.
Additionally, the Glass Menagerie is unique in its various themes, the difficulty in accepting reality (Laura), hopelessness of escape (Tom), and finally, the power of memory. By: Tasfia Tasnim
Marian Mikhail Questions?