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Encyclopedia > The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie is a play by Tennessee Williams. The play premiered in Chicago in 1944, and in 1945 won the prestigious New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The Glass Menagerie was Williams's first successful play; he went on to become one of America's most highly regarded playwrights. Thomas Lanier Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), better known by the pseudonym Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright and one of the prominent playwrights of the twentieth century. ... The New York Drama Critics Circle is comprised of nineteen drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, and wire services based in the New York City metropolitan area. ...

Contents

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2365x2269, 773 KB) High resolution version from http://memory. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2365x2269, 773 KB) High resolution version from http://memory. ... Thomas Lanier Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), better known by the pseudonym Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright and one of the prominent playwrights of the twentieth century. ...

Synopsis

The play is set in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, during the Great Depression and deals with the troubled relationship between an aging mother, Amanda Wingfield, and her painfully shy daughter Laura Wingfield, as told by the son and brother, Tom Wingfield, who is supposedly relating events from memory. He states that the play is not completely realistic, because "memory takes much poetic license." In this "memory play", the time scheme moves freely between the past (the 1930s) and the present (1944-1945). (The action takes place in either 1935 or 1936, since it is "two years" after Chicago's Century of Progress World's Fair of 1933-34.) Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country United States State Missouri County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ... Official language(s) English Capital Jefferson City Largest city Kansas City Largest metro area St Louis[1] Area  Ranked 21st  - Total 69,709 sq mi (180,693 km²)  - Width 240 miles (385 km)  - Length 300 miles (480 km)  - % water 1. ... The Great Depression was a dramatic, worldwide economic downturn beginning in some countries as early as 1928. ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs in Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: , Country State Counties Cook, DuPage Settled 1770s Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... A 1933 Century of Progress worlds fair poster The Century of Progress International Exposition was a Worlds Fair held in Chicago, Illinois from 1933-1934 to celebrate Chicagos centennial. ...


Amanda is fixated on her idealized version of her Southern childhood and is the perfect example of the 'faded southern belle' about whom Williams often writes in plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire. She often recalls days when as many as seventeen gentleman callers would visit her. Her current life involves such sorrows as a complete reversal of fortune - her husband, described as a "telephone man who fell in love with long distance", abandoned the family when Tom and Laura were children. This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ...


Amanda has since made a meager living working in selling magazine subscriptions. She therefore suffers a withdrawal from reality (to a smaller extent than that suffered by Tom or Laura, but more heavily emphasized in the physical sense), yet is the most extroverted family member in the play. Laura has a physical handicap: she wore a brace in high school, and now has a slight limp. She has become cripplingly shy as a result. The outside world frightens her, and she prefers the comfort of her collection of glass animals and the sounds of her father's old Victrola records. Although Tom provides financial support, working long hours in a shoe warehouse (a job he thoroughly despises), Amanda sees Tom as a "selfish dreamer" who irresponsibly retreats into movies, alcohol, reading novels, and writing poetry instead of doing more to provide for the family. The Victor Talking Machine Company (1901 - 1929) was a United States corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. ...


Amanda soon discovers that Laura, instead of attending business college, dropped out after a few days. Laura pretended to go to the college, but went to the local library instead. Sensing her mother's disappointment, Laura explains that she was frightened and embarrassed, becoming physically ill at her first typing test. Her hopes of Laura's employment dashed, Amanda resolves to find a suitable companion for Laura, fearing that she will become like the "barely tolerated spinsters" she recalls from her past. Laura is less enthusiastic, but nevertheless mentions a boy named Jim whom she liked in high school.


Meanwhile, Tom and Amanda's relationship grows even more strained, illustrated by a quarrel in scene 3. The fight is sparked by Amanda's returning one of Tom's D. H. Lawrence novels to the library because she sees it as obscene "filth". Here Tom threatens to leave for good referring to his father in a reluctant yet promising manner. Before he begins to leave the house he tells Amanda a sarcastic story of his life when he allegedly "goes to the movies." He tells of villainy, drug use and prostitution that would cause her to get not a moment's sleep without worry. The fight continues, and at the climax of the argument, Tom hurls his overcoat across the room and breaks some of Laura's glass animals; at the sound, she cries out as if in pain. David Herbert Richards Lawrence (11 September 1885 - 2 March 1930) was a very important and controversial English writer of the 20th century, whose prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, literary criticism and personal letters. ...


In the next scene, Tom apologizes for the fight, and Amanda asks him to find a clean-living man from the warehouse to meet Laura over dinner. Somewhat reluctantly, he does so, and in scene five announces that he has found one: an Irish man named Jim O'Connor. Ecstatic, Amanda interrogates Tom about his suitability and frantically prepares for his arrival, tidying the house and fussing over Laura's appearance. However, once Amanda mentions Jim's name, Laura immediately recognizes him as the boy she loved in high school and pales. Once he arrives at dinner, Laura is so nervous she can barely come to the dinner table. When she gets there, she becomes ill and has to be excused to the couch where she stays as the others finish dinner. After Tom and Amanda entertain Jim at dinner, Amanda leaves the room to do dishes, taking Tom with her, and leaving Jim alone with Laura.


During their conversation, Jim judges Laura as the victim of an inferiority complex, and advises her to see herself as "superior in some way," relating his own experience and goals for the future - in his case, the recent invention of television. Jim manages to coax Laura out of her shyness. She shows him her collection of glass, noting a unicorn as her favorite. Laura even agrees to dance with him after he offers. Inadvertently, Jim bumps the unicorn off the table, breaking its horn off; Laura says it is no trouble, imagining that it had an operation to feel less "freakish". Eventually, Jim kisses Laura; however, he quickly realizes this mistake and hurriedly explains that he is engaged to a girl named Betty, proceeding to expound on how this engagement has changed him through love. Laura, crushed, offers him the broken unicorn as a "souvenir". The gentle and pensive maiden has the power to tame the unicorn, in this fresco in Palazzo Farnese, Rome, probably by Domenichino, ca 1602 The Unicorn (from Latin unus one and cornu horn) is a legendary creature. ...


Amanda returns and soon discovers Jim's engagement for herself. When Jim leaves, she blames Tom for the situation, and Tom futily defends himself by saying that the factory is merely a place of employment and not a social outlet for him; furious, he leaves for good. As Amanda is shown comforting Laura, silently, Tom delivers a soliloquy, revealing that he was never fully able to abandon their memory. The play closes with an image of Laura blowing out the candles, leaving darkness.


Stage productions

Original productions, 1944-45


The Glass Menagerie was actually reworked material from one of Williams' short stories, "Portrait of a Girl in Glass". The play was first produced by Eddie Dowling and Louis J. Singer at the Civic Theatre in Chicago, on December 26th, 1944. It premiered on Broadway at the Playhouse Theatre on March 31, 1945, and moved to the Royale Theatre, with a combined run of 563 performances. It was awarded the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the season. Rhode-Island born actor (christened Joseph Nelson Goucher) who was one of almost 20 children born to an Irish and French-Canadian couple. ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs in Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: , Country State Counties Cook, DuPage Settled 1770s Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... The Lion King at the New Amsterdam Theatre, 2003 Broadway theatre[1] is the most prestigious form of professional theatre in the U.S., as well as the most well known to the general public and most lucrative for the performers, technicians and others involved in putting on the shows. ... The Playhouse, with hoarding for 2006 production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie The Playhouse Theatre is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster, located in Northumberland Avenue, near Trafalgar Square and very close to the river Thames. ... The Royale Theatre is located on 45th Street in Manhattans Theatre District. ... The New York Drama Critics Circle is comprised of nineteen drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, and wire services based in the New York City metropolitan area. ...

Revivals Amanda Wingfield is a character in the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. ... Theater legend, born Helen Loretta Cooney (although other birth names have been tossed about) in New York on April 1, 1884, whose major roles include her unforgettable performances in the eponymous Peg o My Heart and as deluded Southern matriarch Amanda Wingfield in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams... Rhode-Island born actor (christened Joseph Nelson Goucher) who was one of almost 20 children born to an Irish and French-Canadian couple. ... Julie Haydon (June 10, 1910 - December 24, 1994) was an American actress who performed on Broadway and in films. ... Jim OConnor is an American actor and former host of the show The Secret Life Of. ... Anthony Ross (February 23, 1909 - October 26, 1955) was a Broadway stage and film actor. ...


The play has been revived 5 times. The 1965 production, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, ran for 175 performances, and starred Maureen Stapleton (Amanda), Piper Laurie (Laura), Pat Hingle (Gentleman Caller), and George Grizzard (Tom). The Brooks Atkinson Theater is a Broadway theatre. ... Maureen Stapleton. ... Piper Laurie (born January 22, 1932) is an American actress. ... Pat Hingle (born July 19, 1924) is a TOWERING American actor, born Martin Patterson Hingle in Denver, Colorado. ... George Grizzard (b. ...


A Circle in the Square Theatre revival in 1975 again starred Stapleton and Rip Torn as Tom, and ran for 77 performances. Circle in the Square Theater The Circle in the Square Theater is a Broadway theatre in New York City. ... Rip Torn as Chief Zed in the film Men in Black. ...


A production opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on December 1, 1983 and ran for 92 performances. It starred Jessica Tandy as Amanda, Amanda Plummer as Laura, and Bruce Davison (Tom) and John Heard (Gentleman Caller). The Eugene ONeill Theater is a Broadway theatre. ... Jessie Alice Tandy (June 7, 1909 – September 11, 1994) was a noted Academy Award-winning English/American theatre, film and TV actress. ... Amanda Michael Plummer (born March 23, 1957 in New York, New York) is an Emmy and Tony Award-winning American actress. ... Davison as Senator Robert Kelly in X-Men Bruce Davison (born June 28, 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American actor. ... John Heard John Heard (born March 7, 1945 in Washington, DC, USA) is an American actor. ...


The Roundabout Theatre production opened at the now-demolished Criterion Center Stage Right on November 15, 1994 and ran for 57 performances. Julie Harris stared as Amanda, with Calista Flockhart (Laura), Željko Ivanek (Tom), and Kevin Kilner (Gentleman Caller). Actress Julie Harris photo taken by Carl Van Vechten 1952 Julie Harris (born Julia Ann Harris on December 2, 1925 in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan) is an American actress. ... Calista Kay Flockhart (born November 11, 1964) is an Emmy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning American actress. ... Željko Ivanek (born 15 August 1957) is a television, film, and stage actor. ... Kevin Kilner (born May 3, 1958 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a television and film actor. ...


On March 22, 2005, a production opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and starred Jessica Lange (Amanda), Sarah Paulson (Laura), Christian Slater (Tom), and Josh Lucas(Gentleman Caller). The production ran for 120 performances and 29 previews. The Ethel Barrymore Theatre is located in New York City, on 243 W. 47th St (between 8th Avenue and Broadway). ... Jessica Phyllis Lange (born April 20, 1949) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress. ... Sarah Paulson (born December 17, 1974 in Tampa, Florida) is a Golden Globe-nominated American actress. ... Christian Slater (born August 18, 1969) is an American actor. ... Lucas on board Naval Air Station North Island July 17, 2005 Josh Lucas (born Joshua Lucas Easy Dent Maurer[1] on 20 June 1971) is an American actor. ...


The most recent revival of The Glass Menagerie was a West End revival at the Apollo Theatre, and ended on 19 May 2007. It ws directed by Rupert Gould and starred Jessica Lange as Amanda Wingfield. The interior of Covent Garden Market in the West End The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the citys major tourist attractions, businesses, and administrative headquarters. ... Entrance February 2005 This article is about the London theatre. ...


Film and Television Adaptations

At least two movie versions of The Glass Menagerie have been produced, the first directed by Irving Rapper in 1950 , starring Gertrude Lawrence, Jane Wyman, Kirk Douglas, and Arthur Kennedy, and the second by Paul Newman in 1987, starring Joanne Woodward, John Malkovich, Karen Allen, and James Naughton. Williams characterized the former, which had an implied happy ending grafted onto it, as the worst adaptation of his work. [citation needed] It is not currently available on VHS or DVD. Born on January 16, 1898 in Britain, Irving Rapper was a film director. ... Gertrude Lawrence (June 4, 1898 - September 6, 1952) was an actress and musical performer popular in the 1930s and 1940s, appearing on stage in London and on Broadway, and in several films. ... Jane Wyman (born Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917 in Saint Joseph, Missouri)[1] is an Academy Award-winning, Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated American actress also known for being the first wife of president Ronald Reagan. ... Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch Demsky December 9, 1916) is an American actor and film producer known for his gravelly voice and his recurring roles as the kinds of characters Douglas himself once described as sons of bitches. He is also father to Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas. ... Arthur Kennedy (February 17, 1914 _ January 5, 1990) was an American actor. ... Paul Leonard Newman (born January 26, 1925) is an Academy Award, Golden Globe, Cannes Award, and Emmy Award-winning American actor and film director. ... Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward (born February 27, 1930) is an Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy award winning American actress. ... John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor, producer and director. ... Karen Jane Allen (born October 5, 1951) is an American actress most famous for her roles in the films National Lampoons Animal House (1978), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Starman (1984). ... James Naughton (b. ...


There is also a TV adaptation by Anthony Harvey, broadcast on ABC on December 16, 1973, starring Katharine Hepburn, Sam Waterston, Michael Moriarty, and Joanna Miles. All four actors were nominated for Emmys, with Moriarty and Miles winning. An earlier television version, recorded on videotape, and starring Shirley Booth, was broadcast on December 8, 1966 as part of CBS Playhouse. Hal Holbrook played Tom and Pat Hingle played the Gentleman Caller. Booth was nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Amanda. Anthony Harvey (born June 3, 1931) is a British film editor and director. ... The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) operates television and radio networks in the United States and is also shown on basic cable in Canada. ... Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an iconic American star of film, television and stage, widely recognized for her sharp wit, New England gentility and fierce independence. ... Samuel Atkinson Waterston (born November 15, 1940) is an Oscar nominated American actor noted particularly for his portrayal of Jack McCoy on the long-running NBC television series Law & Order. ... Michael Moriarty (born April 5, 1941) is a Tony-winning and Emmy-winning American actor. ... Joanna Miles (born March 6, 1940 in Nice, France) is an American actress. ... An Emmy Award. ... Bottom view of VHS videotape cassette with magnetic tape exposed Videotape is a means of recording images and sound onto magnetic tape as opposed to movie film. ... Shirley Booth (August 30, 1898 – October 16, 1992) was an acclaimed American actress. ... CBS Broadcasting, Inc. ... Holbrook as Twain, 1957. ... An Emmy Award. ...


There is an Indian version of the movie, filmed in Malayalam, a regional language. The movie titled Akale (meaning Beyond), released in 2004, is directed by Shyamaprasad. Prithiviraj, Geethu Mohandas, Sheela and Tom George play the main characters. Malayalam cinema refers to films made in the southern Indian state of Kerala in Malayalam. ...


Parodies

The Glass Menagerie was parodied by Christopher Durang in a short one-act entitled For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, in which Laura is replaced by a wimpy hypochondriac son named Lawrence, and the "gentleman caller" becomes a butch female factory worker with a hearing problem named Ginny. Christopher Durang (born 2 January 1949) is a contemporary playwright known for works of outrageous and often absurd comedy. ...


Ryan Landry and The Gold Dust Orphans did a parody called The Pickaw Menagerie, set in a FEMA trailer in post-Katrina New Orleans, with Landry playing Amanda in an all-male cast. // The Gold Dust Orphans are a fringe theater company based in Boston and Provincetown founded by Ryan Landry, Scott Martino (Penny Champayne), Afrodite and Billy Hough. ... FEMA trailer in front of formerly flooded house The term FEMA trailer,[1][2] or FEMA travel trailer, is the name commonly given by the United States Government[1] to many forms of temporary manufactured housing assigned to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita by the Federal Emergency... Katrina or Katrine may refer to: Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 hurricane that destroyed New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast In fiction: Katrina, a character in the Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini Katrina Finlay, character in Monarch of the Glen Katrina Silber, minor recurring character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer...


External links

  • Internet Broadway Database listing for all productions
  • Study resource for writing about The Glass Menagerie
  • Internet Movie Database listing for 1966 television production
  • Akale at the Internet Movie Database

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