One of American playwright Tennessee Williams’ most famous plays is being performed in Adelaide this month. The Glass Menagerie (1945) is one of Williams’ early works, and deals with his major theme, a preoccupation with the intimacies and tragedies of family life. Two years after he brought Menagerie’s shy Laura and her domineering mother Amanda to the stage, he wrote his greatest play, the tragic Streetcar Named Desire.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Adelaide director and cast’s discussion of the current production of The Glass Menagerie at the wonderful Burnside Library (one of our public libraries that does the ‘we do more than lend books’ thing with style and integrity – I get so tired of simplistic claims that public libraries are suddenly ‘relevant’ to Australians because they are “as likely to help you apply online for a parking permit or submit a legal form digitally as find you a book.”)
Three of the four actors spoke to the library’s audience, along with the play’s director, Adam Cook and the talented set and costume designer, Victoria Lamb. Between them, they gave us some fascinating insights into the text and interpretation of the play, as well as a wealth of information about this particular production (from the purchase of vintage clothing on eBay – the play is set in 1930s America – to the complexities of different characters’ roles.)
Congratulations to Burnside Library’s staff for doing more for our local community than issuing parking permits: it was a great evening, a real contribution to the National Year of Reading.
I’d love to hear from any Reading Women who see the play: please leave a comment here.