A theatrical piece of distinct power, with some of Tennessee Williams’ most potent lyricism, The Glass Menagerie is a memory play as told to us by Tom Wingfield, a merchant marine looking back on the Depression years he spent with his overbearing Southern genteel mother, Amanda, and his physically disabled, cripplingly shy sister, Laura. While Amanda strives to give her children a life beyond the decrepit St. Louis tenement they inhabit, she is herself trapped by the memory of her life past-- a life of cotillions and suitors and wealth, now long gone. Tom, working at a shoe factory and paying the family’s rent, finds his own escape in drinking and going to the movies, while Laura pours her energy into caring for her delicate glass figurines. Tom, pressured by his mother to help find Laura a suitable husband, invites an acquaintance from the factory to the apartment, a powerful possibility that pushes Amanda deeper into her obsessions and makes Laura even more vulnerable to shattering, exposed like the glass menagerie she treasures. Williams’ intensely personal and brilliantly tender masterpiece exposes the complexity of our memories, and the ways in which we can never truly escape them.
The Glass Menagerie guide sections