Capitol Shakespeare presents Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie
February 7-8 at 7pm nightly & February 9 at 2pm
Russell Reid Auditorium in the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum
Presented by Capitol Shakespeare in partnership with the State Historial Society of North Dakota.
Free to the Public - Donations Accepted
The Glass Menagerie is introduced to the audience by Tom as a memory play based on his recollection of his mother Amanda and his sister Laura. Because the play is Tom's memory he warns the audience that what they see may be skewed.
Amanda Wingfield, a faded Southern belle of middle age, shares a dingy St. Louis apartment with her son Tom and his slightly elder sister, Laura. Although she is a tough woman, Amanda yearns for the comforts and admiration she remembers from her days as a beautiful debutante. She worries especially about the future of her daughter Laura, a young woman with a limp (an after-effect of a bout of polio) and a tremulous insecurity about the outside world. Tom works in a shoe warehouse doing his best to support the family. He struggles with the boredom of everyday life and tries to write while spending much of his spare time "going to the movies" at all hours of the night.
Amanda is obsessed with finding a "gentleman caller" for Laura, her daughter, whose crippling shyness has led her to drop out of both high school and a subsequent secretarial course, and who spends much of her time polishing and arranging her collection of little glass animals. Pressured by his mother to help find a caller for Laura, Tom invites Jim, an acquaintance from work, home for dinner.
The delighted Amanda spruces up the apartment, prepares a special dinner, and converses coquettishly with Jim, almost reliving her youth. Laura discovers that Jim is the boy she was attracted to in high school and has often thought of since. Initially, Laura is so overcome by shyness that she is unable to join the others at dinner, and she claims to be ill. After dinner, however, Jim and Laura are left alone by candlelight in the living room, waiting for the electricity to be restored --Tom has not paid the power bill, as he is saving his money to leave the household. As the evening progresses, Jim recognizes Laura's feelings of inferiority and encourages her to think better of herself. He and Laura share a quiet dance, in which he accidentally brushes against her glass menagerie, knocking a glass unicorn to the floor and breaking off its horn. Jim compliments Laura and kisses her and tells Laura that he is engaged to be married. Laura asks him to take the broken unicorn as a gift and he then leaves. When Amanda learns that Jim is to be married, she turns her anger upon Tom and cruelly lashes out at him, although Tom did not know that Jim was engaged.
The play concludes with Tom saying that he left home soon afterward and never returned. He then bids farewell to his mother and sister and asks Laura to blow out the candles.