The Glass Menagerie (Modern Classics (Penguin)) - Tennessee Williams, Robert Bray I have yet to read a Tennessee Williams play that I haven't enjoyed and this latest one was no exception. I finished it yesterday morning but had to wait a while before I jotted my thoughts down in a coherent manner (let's hope) for this review because the message I got was a personal one for me. Escape. I felt this was the central pulsating theme of this short play. In every scene you feel each character's anxiety as they long to escape to somewhere.

For Amanda it was the past. That was where she shone, amidst her gentleman callers. But the Southern belle didn't marry 'up' instead she married a telephone operator who loved loved long distance. Translation he left. So twenty odd years later she still reminisces about what could have been....the hundred acre plantation, servants, mint juleps, the works.

For Tom it was the future. He heard the call of adventure, romance and more importantly freedom in the Merchant Marines and every moment he was forced to drudgery in that warehouse job, forced to his mother's 'We's' and 'dont you think you shoulds' was one more moment he wished he was somewhere else. "I'm like my father. The bastard son of a bastard! Did you notice how he's grinning in his picture in there? And he's been absent going in sixteen years!"

And finally, Laura, the deadweight that anchors them to that apartment. Laura longs to escape into a separate world somewhere in her mind surrounded by her music, forever winding up that Victrola when anxiety hits, and her fragile glass figurines. I'm not quite sure what her issue is but she's as fragile as those figurines she's always palming. I suppose her crippled leg, abandonment issues and overbearing mother played a significant part in her hyperanxiety when confronted by ... people.... and typewriters.

They go along, each hoping, dreaming and getting on each others nerves in this simmering pot until one day Amanda decides that her efforts to secure Laura some sort of an independent future, with her directing it of course, isn't working out. Instead, Laura needs a husband who'll take care of the both of them. So Tom is roped into finding said husband and in return he'll be granted his freedom. This is where things come to a head. Tom brings back Jim, Laura's high school crush and he flirts and she falls...hard. But in an emotional way. Then after he kisses her, he tells her he's engaged. Don't you just love that ?! Oh and he breaks her favourite unicorn glass figurine too. Breaks it all up along with her hopes and dreams of being swept by Jim.....sigh.

So Jim leaves to go meet Betty, his fiancee. Tom just leaves period, I think mommy dearest opened her mouth again and he just couldnt take it any more. And that leaves Amanda and Laura, shut up in that house, forever.

The End.