In my briefing of a production team for “The Glass Menagerie” I would try to explain how I want to emphasize the fact that is a memory play. This would be done through mostly technical devices. The set should clearly convey the fact that the audience are watching a memory. I want this achieved through a non-naturalistic set. The set should be distorted as a memory often is.
I want this done most through proportion. I would want things like the dinning room table and other props to be of a larger than life size; this is to emphasize how small Laura feels in comparison to the world around her.This relates to some productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when the would is made to appear larger than life to give a feeling of intimidation towards the character’s and to highlight the lovers and mechanicals are in a different world; the world of the fairies. It also accentuates Laura’s feelings of lack of control over her mother when Amanda forces her to stay seated at the table. Laura’s chair should be smaller than Amanda and Tom’s as they do not lack in confidence and this creates a contrast in their personalities.This stresses Laura’s fragility. I want the dinning room and its props to be blue colours to emphasize the coldness of Laura’s life. The living room and its props would be stark white to highlight the fact that Laura and Jim’s relationship is out of place and so, therefore, only end in disaster.
I would want light to be used to further alert the audience to the memory idea of distortion. Whilst in the dinning room, I want a crisp blue spotlight on Laura. This is to give emphasis to the coldness in her life and heart.When with Jim in the living room a crisp white should spotlight Laura. Firstly, this would show a change in mood; Laura is more hopeful as she gets on well with Jim.
This is to show her pureness and naivety in contrast to Jim. “Blood Brothers” used lighting technique similarly to create mood and the feeling of memory. The white light also would make her seem like a piece of glass on exhibit under museum lights, “too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf”.The rest of the set should be lit more moodily to give extra contrast to Laura and her surroundings.
With the stark white setting and spotlight combined, this shows Jim to be out of place in Laura’s life. I want sound and music to also be used for emphasis. The reoccurring music “The Glass Menagerie” should be used to show the audience Laura’s fragility throughout the extracts.
This is similar to a reoccurring tune in “The Woman in Black” that was used to create an eerie atmosphere and it was the ‘tag’ music for when the main character was being haunted.My intention for using the repetition of music in “The Glass Menagerie” is to underscore the moments when Laura is at her most fragile. The music should first be played when Laura is polishing her glass collection at the beginning of scene two; this is to show the connection of fragility between Laura and her glass collection. At the end of the last scene when Jim tells Laura he can not date her, the music should start out low and get louder as he is expressing his happiness to Laura.This will show that, like the glass animal, Laura too is broken. As far as costumes are concerned I want all characters to be dressed naturalistically. This is to give contrast to the set to show that the characters and events are not distorted through memory.
Laura should wear delicate feminine dresses to accentuate the feeling mentioned before and to show an “unearthly, fragile prettiness”. The dress should be white to show her pureness of spirit. Amanda’s costumes should be exaggerated to convey her ‘over the top’ personality.
Jim should dress, as a normal man in the thirties would do. His costume should give nothing about his character away as this will relate to how he lets Laura down; she has no idea about his present lifestyle. In conclusion, the general ideas that I have expressed of fragility should be woven into all different aspects of the play and its set. This will intensify the feeling of impeding doom throughout the play, as nothing this fragile can remain unbroken forever, and create more empathy for Laura when she is eventually “broken”.