By M. Scott Morris
CORINTH – At the start of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” we know Tom’s gone away because he’s telling us the story from his past.
“He’s always searching for something to live for and running away from what he has,” said Nathan Dodd, who plays the older Tom in Corinth Theatre-Arts’ production.
Depending on your point of view, Tom could be the hero of the story or the villain.
As a young man during the Great Depression, he’s working hard to help support his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura. It’s a confining existence that’s amplified by his mother.
“Amanda builds up her own beliefs,” said Kelly Gilson, director. “She has high expectations for her children. They’re almost too high. They are too high, actually.”
Amanda gets onto Tom for smoking and spending too much time at the movies. He’s a young man in his 20s, but his every decision is up for review. It’s the kind of situation a man could be expected to leave, but there’s a complication.
“His sister,” Dodd said. “If he leaves, she’ll be the sole inheritor of her mother’s nitpickiness.”
Tom could be a hero or he could be a villain. Laura should be capable of speaking for herself, so some of the family’s problems could be her fault. And who can criticize a mother for trying to keep her family together?
“There are so many perspectives, depending on how you see it,” Dodd said. “You can see Amanda as being the wronged one. You can see Laura as being the ultimate wronged one, or you can see her as the cause of all the trouble.”
Williams’ play doesn’t offer easy answers. He provides a window into family life, then invites the audience to take an active role in interpreting the story. Maybe you’ll find hope amid the sadness, the same way Lynda Hilliker, who plays Laura, did.
“The ending is sad, but you never know what’s going to happen in the future,” Hilliker said. “It’s sad, but it could be a happy ending eventually. Who’s to say?”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.