Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Glass Menagerie & Memory Plays

After our quiz and writing prompt this morning, please pick up The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams and read the production notes.

As you read, consider Tom's role in the play as "narrator" and the idea that what we are seeing is a reflection of his memory, not the actual events themselves. This technique is lovingly called a MEMORY PLAY.

Characteristics of Memory Plays:
1. Often use a "narrator" or "first person" character to tell the story.
2. Memory is tenuous and therefore set pieces or props, costumes, setting are representative or use synecdoche.
3. Scenes and characters are atmospheric and subjective. We are getting the narrator's (often the protagonist's) opinion and view of other characters, events. Thus, the style of a memory play is often EXPRESSIONISTIC.
4. Not exactly realism (which strives to present all facts realistically and objectively) the memory play allows for a vivid expression to suggest meaning (metaphor, for example).

For those of you interested, check out these other Williams' films:
Most of Williams' plays (as well as his films) revolve around a central secret: something terrible or haunting or degenerate that a protagonist desperately tries to cover up. Williams' women are often unhappy, the men brutish and insensitive. Oh, where will it lead but to modern American drama!

We can learn a lot about playwriting from Tennessee Williams. A character in pain or conflict lies at the  center of his plays. The use of a "secret" allows appropriate tension and rising conflict until a climactic scene reveals the truth. Learn from this.

HOMEWORK: Please read scenes 1-5 for Thursday. Ms. Springer will be handling this one. Bring in old magazines, newspapers, photos if you have any--for a scrap booking exercise.

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