I first encountered The Glass Menagerie on paper when I read it as part of my American Lit course at Edinburgh University. It’s a play to trouble and disturb but enchant from the first word spoken by Tom, our narrator and thinly disguised manifestation of Williams himself, to the last breath Laura uses to extinguish her candles.
What can be done to safeguard the future of an adult child without any skills needed to survive alone – a vulnerable adult, if you will? How can a mother protect that person? How can a loving brother escape with any hope of making a life without guilt?
It’s a play about memory and illusion and we agonise over the memories that drive the lives of Amanda, Laura and Tom. Jim comes into their desperate world and even illusion is shattered.
Exquisitely played by Irene Macdougall, Millie Turner, Robert Jack and Thomas Cotran, the play haunts our own memory long after the curtain.