The Glass Menagerie
The Glass Menagerie – Theater Review
The Glass Menagerie opens with Tom Wingfield in a hotel room, trying to forge his past into art. Tom’s space is soon overtaken by the memories of the cramped apartment he once shared with his mother Amanda and beloved sister Laura. The drama recalls the family’s unrequited dreams and the night a visit from a man known as the Gentleman Caller changed their lives forever.
The Glass Menagerie is one of Tennessee Williams’s most famous, if not his most famous play. And this one is really a terrific revival at the Roundabout Theater Company, and the terrific Judith Ivey plays Amanda Wingfield. This is set in a completely different way than I’ve ever seen it staged before in that as those who have seen it before know it’s a memory play and Tom is a thinly disguised Tennessee Williams who is recalling his situation with his mother, his crippled sister, Laura, and the gentleman caller. This is originally written to be a movie and it was originally called The Gentleman Caller. It’s about hope and about repression and wounded people and how love is really somewhat monstrous. And Amanda Wingfield has always been one of those ferocious roles, but not particularly sympathetic; Judith Ivey brings humor and humanity to it, so you have the sense that she really does love her children. She’s just a wounded person and she’s just — she’s incomplete. She’s just a limited woman, a very limited woman, as are all the people in the play with the possible exception of the gentleman caller and he’s played here with a lot of heart as well. I really like this production. It’s all set in kind of a shabby either hotel room or apartment where Tennessee is writing his memories, and so they really dispense with a lot of the clutter of a more complicated set. This is a really wonderful production. I think Judith Ivey is certainly going to win at least a nomination for a Tony and maybe even the award. It’s really a performance of a lifetime. Five stars