A revival of Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie openeed March 9th starring Sally Field as the smothering Amanda Wingfield, and directed by Sam Gold (John, Fun Home). The reviews from opening night were mixed, but entirely interested. From Deadline Hollywood:
Sally Field’s citric, unvarnished performance as Amanda Wingfield is so riveting you may find your focus pulled from the larger picture created by Sam Gold‘s shocking revival of The Glass Menagerie, which opened tonight at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre. Stripped bare of the accoutrements of poverty Williams so carefully articulated in the notes for his 1945 “memory play,” Gold takes more seriously Williams’ prefatory caution that “everyone should know nowadays the unimportance of the photographic in art: that truth, life, or reality is an organic thing which the poetic imagination can represent or suggest, in essence, only through transformation” free of the “exhausted theater of realistic conventions…”
The New York Times was less enthusiastic:
That shattering sound you hear coming from the Belasco Theater is the celebrated director Sam Gold taking a hammer to everything that’s delicate in “The Glass Menagerie.” The jagged, glistening shards of Tennessee Williams’s breakthrough play are available for inspection in the revival that opened on Thursday night.
Don’t expect these pieces to be reassembled into an illuminating portrait of the anguished Wingfield family from this 1944 drama. Mr. Gold and his cast, led by an intrepid Sally Field, have dismantled a venerable classic, but darned if they can figure out how to put it back together again.
The Glass Menagerie is the play that brought Tennessee Williams to fame in 1944. From Wikipedia:
The Glass Menagerie is a five-character memory play by Tennessee Williams that 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.
Sam Gold’s revival of The Glass Menagerie runs at the Belasco Theater until July 7th.