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The importance of theatrical devices in the staging of 'The Glass Menagerie'

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Introduction

The importance of theatrical devices in the staging of 'The Glass Menagerie' 'The Glass Menagerie' is a memory play, and its plots are drawn from the memories of the narrator, Tom Wingfield. Tom is a character in the play, which has a setting in St. Louis in 1937. He is an aspiring poet who toils in a shoe warehouse to support his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura. Mr. Wingfield, their father, ran off years ago and, except for one postcard, has not been heard of since then. Amanda regales her children frequently with tales of her idyllic youth and the scores of suitors who once pursued her. She is disappointed that Laura is painfully shy, does not attract any gentleman callers. Amanda decides that Laura's last hope must lie in marriage. Meanwhile, Tom, who loathes his warehouse job, finds escape in liquor, movies, and literature, much to his mother's chagrin. Amanda and Tom discuss Laura's prospects, and Amanda asks Tom to keep an eye out for potential suitors at the warehouse. Tom selects Jim O'Connor, a casual friend, and invites him to dinner. At the last minute, Laura learns the name of her caller; as it turns out, she had a devastating crush on Jim in high school. ...read more.

Middle

But it is also the vital force for Tom, prompting him to the act of creation that culminates in the achievement of the play. In 'The Glass Menagerie', the uses of props and scenery are integral parts of the play. The fire escape, Victrola phonograph, Laura's unicorn, Tom's movie going, and the photograph of the father that left them behind all affect their lives everyday in one way or another. In the play, Tom was torn between responsibility for his mother and sister and the need to be his own man. He used the fire escape most in the play. He went outside to stand on it when he smoked, to escape the nagging from his mother, or to make his final independence from his family. Movies were also an important part of Tom's life. He went to the movies when he and his mother argued or when he felt he needed some excitement. The Victrola was Laura's means of escape and comfort. Laura is painfully shy, very fragile, and has a very big "inferiority complex". She uses the Victrola so much to comfort her that it has become an instinct. ...read more.

Conclusion

But the point is that Williams included them so as to help with the structure of the play as a memory play. The use of light plays an important role in the play. Since the play is not realistic, the atmosphere of memory must be kept so shaft of lights are focused on selected areas or actors in a particular scene. It is use to give importance to the characters acting out as well as recognising more their actions and movements. In the play, a very distinct light was focused on Laura. The kind of light used for saints, to show her fragility. "..In front of them stands Laura with clenched hands and panicky expression. A clear pool of light on her figure throughout the scene." ('The Glass Menagerie', Stage directions, Act 3, page 28) The Glass Menagerie uses music, screen device, stage directions and lightning effects to create the dream-like atmosphere appropriate for a "memory play." Music and light - elements also significant to the playwright, enhance the level of emotion and create an alluring atmosphere for Tom's haunting memories. Tennessee Williams' use of the narrator (Tom) and his creation of a dream-like, illusory atmosphere helped to create a powerful representation of memory and family. ...read more.

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