A Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams
Tom is an aspiring poet who works in the Continental Shoemakers warehouse. He is the narrator of the play: the action of the play is framed by Tom’s memory. Tom loves his mother and sister, but he feels trapped at home. They are dependent on his wages, and as long as he stays with them he feels he can never have a life of his own. Nightly, he disappears to “go to the movies.”
I have been to the movies. There was a very long program. There was a Garbo picture and a Mickey Mouse and a travelogue and a newsreel and a preview of coming attractions. And there was an organ solo and a collection for the Milk Fund- simultaneously-which ended up in a terrible fight between a fat lady and an usher! Of course! And, oh, I forgot! There was a big stage show! The headliner on this stage show was Malvolio the magician. He performed wonderful tricks, many of them, such as pouring water back and forth between pitchers. First it turned to wine and then it turned to beer and then it turned to whiskey. I know it was whiskey it finally turned into because he needed somebody to come up out of the audience to help him, and I came up-both shows! It was Kentucky Straight Bourbon. A very generous fellow, he gave souvenirs. (He pulls from his back pocket a shimmering rainbow-colored scarf.) He gave me this. This is his magic scarf. You can have it, Laura. You wave it over a canary cage and you get a bowl of goldfish. You wave it over the goldfish bowl and they fly away canaries….But the wonderfullest trick of all was the coffin trick. We nailed him into a coffin and he got out of the coffin without removing one nail. There is a trick that would come in handy for me-get me out of this two-by-four situation!