Play Reading Society to feature ‘Glass Menagerie’

NEW ULM – The December play reading selection for the Alice Lind Play Reading Society on Tuesday, Dec 10, at the Lind House, will be the award winning drama by Tennessee Williams, “The Glass Menagerie.”

The Lind House is located at 622 Center Street, New Ulm=. This play reading begins at 7 p.m. sharp.

The Glass Menagerieis a four-character memory play by Tennessee Williams which premiered in 1944 and catapulted Williams from obscurity to fame. The play has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on Williams himself, his histrionic mother, and his mentally fragile sister Rose. In writing the play, Williams drew on an earlier short story, as well as a screenplay he had written under the title of The Gentleman Caller.

The play premiered in Chicago in 1944. After a shaky start it was championed by Chicago critics Ashton Stevens and Claudia Cassidy, whose enthusiasm helped build audiences so the producers could move the play to Broadway where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1945. The Glass Menagerie was Williams’s first successful play; he went on to become one of America’s most highly regarded playwrights.

The characters and story mimic Williams’s own life more closely than any of his other works. Williams (whose real name was Thomas) would be Tom, his mother, Amanda. His sickly and mentally unstable older sister Rose provides the basis for the fragile Laura (whose nickname in the play is “Blue Roses.” a result of a bout of pleurosis as a high school student), though it has also been suggested that Laura may incorporate aspects of Williams himself, referencing his introverted nature and obsessive focus on a part of life (writing for Williams and glass animals in Laura’s case).

Williams, who was close to Rose growing up, learnt to his horror that in 1943 in his absence his sister had been subjected to a botched lobotomy. Rose was left incapacitated (and institutionalized) for the rest of her life. With the success of The Glass Menagerie, Williams was to give half of the royalties from the play to his mother. He later designated half of the royalties from his play Summer and Smoke to provide for Rose’s care, arranging for her move from the state hospital to a private sanitarium. Eventually he was to leave the bulk of his estate to ensure Rose’s continuing care. Rose died in 1996.

Admission is $5. Reservations must be made as there are limited scripts available. Call (507) 359-9990 and leave a message that you plan to attend. Participants will only be called if there are no more spaces available. Refreshments will be served.

Volunteers will be asked to read parts throughout the evening. Depending on attendance, the leading roles may be read by several people for each act or scene. Persons attending do not have to read or may request smaller roles to read. Suggestions from the public for future plays are strongly encouraged. Con

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