The revivals of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie regularly draw the audience’s attention and make the public refer to Tom’s memories, as it is stated in the play, many times. The American Repertory Theater produced a new version of the classic play and presented it at the Booth Theater during the first months of 2014. The audience received the opportunity to meet Amanda, Tom, and Laura one more time, while focusing on their inner drama and while understanding their inner pain because of impossibility to accept the reality or escape from it. These themes and emotions were not only revealed but also significantly accentuated by John Tiffany as a director of the live theater production.
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Tiffany’s production of Williams’ play should be discussed as the tribute to the classic The Glass Menagerie because of valuing the traditional approach to interpreting the play; thus, the director’s voice can be discussed as limited, and the characters’ real emotions, which were described by Williams, play the most significant role to emphasize the theme of impossibility to accept the reality.
In his production, Tiffany intends to balance the voice of the playwright and the personal director’s vision of the plot and idea. Williams’ voice seems to be observed in all the events presented on stage, and this detail can be discussed as important for the public interested in viewing the play as Williams’ product instead of focusing on the director’s impressive ideas. In The Glass Menagerie, Williams tries to represent the individual’s inner world as a fragile construction which cannot be harder than a glass unicorn. Furthermore, Williams states that people often try to find the shelter in their dreams, ideas, and the glass menagerie. Tiffany’s production can be perceived as the illustration to these ideas.
Referring to the characters and actors, it is important to note that Amanda performed by Cherry Jones, Laura performed by Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Tom performed by Zachary Quinto are extremely real because their feelings and actions are not exaggerated, but highly vivid. The characters’ words sound persuasively and produce the definite effect on the audience. Thus, Amanda as a former Southern belle is strict and rather tyrannical, but she is still vulnerable because her dreams did not come true.
Cherry Jones’s acting allows the viewer to think that her Amanda is really that woman about whom Williams wrote in his play. Celia Keenan-Bolger’s Laura is not a victim of her mother’s tyranny, but she is a vulnerable girl who lives in the world of her fantasy. In this case, Tom performed by Zachary Quinto can be discussed as the most dramatic character because his emotions seem to be on the verge because he is lost in his tries to find the ways to escape from the reality.
The whole mood of the live theater production can be described as lyrical and even elegiac because of the focus on the characters’ emotions. There are no features on stage to distract the public’s attention from the characters’ feelings. Much attention is paid to music, for instance, Amanda’s dancing can be perceived as dramatic rather than eccentric. The lyrical tone is in all the characters’ actions, without references to their words, behaviors, or reactions because they suffer from the inner drama.
Tiffany’s production of Williams’ The Glass Menagerie can be discussed as the good attempt to represent Williams’ ideas with little personal interpretation. As a result, the play’s strengths are in the intention to accentuate the problematic topic of the people’s relations with the reality and to make an emphasis on their real and deep emotions and feelings.