Performance Dates are Tuesday 7th to Saturday 11th May 2024 ( with two performances on the Saturday).
About the Play
The Glass Menagerie” was the first of Tennessee Williams’ plays to achieve success, catapulting him to fame from obscurity.
This hauntingly poetic play is highly autobiographical and features characters based on the author, his histrionic mother and his mentally fragile sister and is regarded by many critics as being a theatrical masterpiece.
The Glass Menagerie tells of a single mother and her two adult children struggling to get by in Depression-era St. Louis. In spite of her best efforts, Amanda succeeds more in distancing her children from her, with Laura retreating into her own imaginary world and Tom plotting to escape the “prison” he sees himself in. Williams’ story about the Wingfields contains themes which continue to resonate with audiences in the present day. It is a selected text for AQA A Level Drama.
The characters in the play are as follows:
Amanda Wingfield (the mother)
A faded southern belle who grew up in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, was abandoned by her husband, and who is trying to raise her two children under harsh financial conditions. Amanda yearns for the comforts of her youth and also longs for her children to have the same comforts, but her devotion to them has made her – as she admits at one point – almost “hateful” towards them.
Tom Wingfield (Amanda’s son and the narrator of the play)
Amanda’s son. Tom works at a shoe warehouse to support his family but is frustrated by his job and aspires to be a poet. He struggles to write, all the while being sleep-deprived and irritable. Yet, he escapes from reality through nightly excursions to the movies. Tom feels both obligated toward yet burdened by his family and longs to escape.
Laura Wingfield (Amanda’s daughter)
Amanda’s daughter and Tom’s elder sister. A childhood illness has left her with a limp, and she has a mental fragility and an inferiority complex that has isolated her from the outside world. She has created a world of her own symbolized by her collection of glass figurines. The unicorn can be said to represent Laura because it is unique and fragile.
An old high school acquaintance of Tom and Laura. Jim was a popular athlete and actor during his days at High School. Subsequent years have been less kind to Jim; by the time of the play’s action, he is working as a shipping clerk at the same shoe warehouse as Tom. His hope to shine
Playing ages of the Characters
The Glass Menagerie” is described by Williams himself as a “memory play”, with the characters and events rooted in his own life, seen through the filter of time. This permits a degree of latitude in terms of the playing ages of the characters.
As far as playing ages go, Amanda should appear old enough to be Laura’s mother.
As their characters were in the same class in high school, Laura and Jim should appear to be the same age, anywhere from early 20s to early 30s.
Although Tom is mentioned as being two years younger than Laura, because the play’s events are his memories, the actor playing Tom can technically range anywhere from 30s to late 40s. (The original Tom, Eddie Dowling, was 55 when he played the part.)
Care will need to be taken on the casting to make sure that the combination of actors selected works in terms of their relative ages.
All of the characters will need to be played with American accents, with Amanda having a particularly strong, deep southern accent.
Auditions will take place on Saturday 13th January 2024 (morning) and Monday 15th January 2024 (evening). Rehearsals will commence in late February 2024 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (7.30 pm to 9.30 pm) and Sundays (10.30 – 12.30).
The directors pitch for this production will take place on Wednesday 22 November 2023 at 8pm in the Everyman Theatre Clubroom. All are welcome to attend.