THE GLASS MENAGERIE Comes To Playhouse Theatre 3/14-3/29

The Glass Menagerie is a timeless, contemporary American classic. Williams' beautifully crafted, semi-autobiographical play portrays the transformation of Tom Wingfield from a St. Louis warehouse worker during the depression who can only dream of adventure, to a merchant seaman who wanders the world.

Tom's freedom comes at acost: he must escape his overbearing mother and his adoring, childlike sister, Laura, who is onlyfree to express herself with the animals in her glass menagerie. When Tom's attempt to provideLaura with a gentleman caller ends in disaster, he is forced to abandon his sister in order to save himself.Anyone who has ever loved their family, but needed to go on their own journey of discovery, will laugh and perhaps cry at this tender portrayal of an artist's life in a glass menagerie.

Steve Turner, a favourite of Western Australian audiences, will portray Tom and Gillian Jones, one of Australia's most exciting leading ladies, will return to WA to play Amanda Wingfield. They will bejoined by Melanie Munt and Myles Pollard, both well known for their television roles.Written by a great American playwright at the height of his powers and brought to life by aformidable company of actors, The Glass Menagerie offers a moving night at the theatre.New York Drama Critic Circle Award, 1945"... in masterly fashion, Williams plays upon the romantic possibilities of fairy story ..." The Age

TICKET PRICES Standard: $48Concession (Senior, Pensioner, Unemployed): $40 Previews: $38Groups 8+ (plus 1 free ticket for every 10 purchased): $40 Students: (Full time students with photo ID): $20 Student Rush (full time students with valid ID, onlyavailable at box office on the night 30 mins before curtain up, subject to availability): $15

The Glass Menagerie is presented through special arrangement with The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.

The Glass Menagerie Synopsis The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams was originally written as a screenplay for MGM, to whom Williams was contracted.
The play premiered in Chicago in 1944, and in 1945 won theprestigious 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.

The Glass Menagerie is accounted by many to be an autobiographical play about Williams's life,the characters and story mimicking his own more closely than any of his other works. Williams(whose real name is Thomas) would be Tom, his Mother, Amanda, and his sickly and(supposedly) mentally ill sister Rose would be Laura (whose nickname in the play is "Blue Roses", a result of an unfortunate bout of Pleurosis as a high school student).

The play is introduced to the audience by Tom as a memory play, based on his recollection. Amanda's husband left the family long ago, and she remains stuck in the past. Tom works in a factory, doing his best to support them. He chafes under the banality and boredom of everydaylife and spends much of his spare time watching movies in cheap cinemas. Amanda is obsessedwith finding a suitor for Laura, who spends most of her time with her glass collection. Tomeventually brings his colleague Jim home for dinner at the insistence of his mother, who hopes Jim will be the long-awaited suitor for Laura. Laura realizes that Jim is the man she loved in highschool and has thought of ever since. He dashes her hopes, telling her that he is alreadyengaged, and then leaves. Tom leaves too, and never returns to see his family again.

Playwright, poet, and fiction writer, Tennessee Williams left a powerful mark on American theatre. At their best, his twenty-five full-length plays combined lyrical intensity, haunting loneliness, and hypnotic violence. He is widely considered the greatest Southern playwright and one of the greatest playwrights in the history of American drama.

Born Thomas Lanier Williams on March 26, 1911, he suffered through a difficult and troubling childhood. His father, Cornelius Williams, was a shoe salesman and an emotionally absentparent. He became increasingly abusive as the Williams children grew older. His mother, Edwina, was the daughter of aSouthern Episcopal minister and had lived the adolescence and young womanhood of a spoiled Southern belle. Williamswas sickly as a child, and his mother was a loving but smothering woman.

In 1918 the family moved from Mississippi to St. Louis, and the change from a small provincial town to abig city was very difficult for Williams' mother. The young Williams was also influenced by his older sister Rose's emotional and mental imbalance during their childhood.In 1929, Williams enrolled in the University of Missouri. After two years his father withdrew him forflunking ROTC, and he took a job at his father's shoe company. He despised the job but workedat the warehouse by day and wrote late into the night. The strain was too much, and in 1935Williams had a nervous breakdown. He recovered at his grandparents' home in Memphis, and during these years he continued to write.

Amateur productions of his early plays were produced in Memphis and St. Louis.Rose's mental health continued to deteriorate as well. During a fight between Cornelius and Edwina in 1936, Cornelius made a move towards Rose that he claimed was meant to calm her.

Rose thought his overtures were sexual and suffered a terrible breakdown. Her parents had herlobotomized shortly afterward. Williams went back to school and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1938. He then moved to New Orleans, where he began going by the name Tennessee, a nickname he'd been given in college thanks to his southern drawl. After struggling with his sexuality through his youth, hefinally entered a new life as a gay man, with a new name, a new home, and a promising newcareer.In the early 40s, Williams moved between several cities for different jobs and playwriting classes, also working at MGM as a scriptwriter. In 1944 came the great turning point in his career: The Glass Menagerie.

First produced in Chicago to great success, the play transferred to Broadway in 1945 and won the NY Critics Circle Award.While success freed Williams financially, it also made it difficult for him to write. He went to Mexico to work on a play originally titled The Poker Night. This play eventually became one of his masterpieces, A Streetcar Named Desire. It won Williams a second NY Critics' Circle Award anda Pulitzer Prize in 1947, enabling him to travel and buy a home in Key West as an escape forboth relaxation and writing.

The year 1951 brought The Rose Tattoo and Williams' first Tony award, as well as the successful film adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Vivian Leigh. Around this time, Williams met Frank Merlo. The two fell in love, and the young man became Williams' romantic partner until Merlo's untimely death in 1961. He was a steadying influence on Williams, who suffered from depression and lived in fear that he, like his sister Rose, would go insane. The following years were some of Williams' most productive. His plays were a great success inthe United States and abroad, and he was able to write works that were well-received by critics and popular with audiences, including The Rose Tattoo (1950), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Night of the Iguana (1961), and many others. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof won Williams his second Pulitzer Prize, and was his last truly great artistic and commercial success.

He gave American theatergoers unforgettable characters, an incredible vision of life in the South,and a series of powerful portraits of the human condition. He was deeply interested in somethinghe called "poetic realism," namely the use of everyday objects which, seen repeatedly and in theright contexts, become imbued with symbolic meaning.

His plays also seemed preoccupied with the extremes of human brutality and sexual behavior: madness, rape, incest, nymphomania, aswell as violent and fantastic deaths. Williams himself often commented on the violence in his own work, which to him seemed part of the human condition; he was conscious, also, of the violence in his plays being expressed in a particularly American setting. As with the work of Edward Albee,critics who attacked the "excesses" of Williams' work often were making thinly veiled attacked onhis sexuality. Homosexuality was not discussed openly at that time, but in Williams' plays thethemes of desire and isolation reveal, among other things, the influence of having grown up gayin a homophobic world.The sixties brought hard times for Tennessee Williams. He had become dependent on drugs, andthe problem only grew worse after the death of Frank Merlo in 1961. Merlo's death from lungcancer sent Williams into a deep depression that lasted ten years. Williams was also insecureabout his work, which was sometimes of inconsistent quality, and he was violently jealous ofyounger playwrights.

His sister Rose was in his thoughts during his later work. The later plays are not considered Williams' best, including the failed Clothes for a Summer Hotel. Overwork and drug use continuedto take their toll on him, and on February 23, 1983, Williams choked to death on the lid of amedicine bottle.

Featuring Gillian Jones, Melanie Munt, Myles Pollard and Steve Turner Director Kate Cherry Set & Costume Designer Adam Gardnir Lighting Designer Jon Buswell Sound Designer Paul Grabowsky


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