Sun 20. Jun. 2021, 7.00 pm - 9.30 pm | Main Stage
"The Glass Menagerie" was the foundation of Tennessee Williams's fame as one of the most important writers in the US of the 20th century. Although the success of this production on Broadway was entirely unexpected for the 33-year-old author, he had been working towards the premiere with great determination. With his drama, Williams aspired to show a new form of theater. He intended to project the essence of human nature by telling the story from the perspective of individual memories – as a "memory play".
TO BE READ BEFORE THE PERFORMANCE
By John Neumeier
When I was seventeen, I saw a play, "The Glass Menagerie", at a theatre attached to the university I would soon attend. I did not know then that the director, Father John Walsh S. J., would become the most important mentor of my life – I had no idea that Joan Schwartz who played Laura would become my "adopted" sister.
The effect of Tennessee Williams's drama has never left me. For years, I considered how it could possibly become a ballet, how I might transform Tennessee Williams's extraordinary and moving poetry into meaningful movement. It was Alina Cojocaru and our work together creating "Liliom" that convinced me: The time must be now.
The most difficult challenge in choreographically orchestrating this drama quartet is Laura. How to choreograph an eveninglong ballet whose central figure is physically impaired? At the present stage of rehearsal, the question is more important than the answer – although the experience of creation develops a specific dance language.
The story is very simple. It concerns a family. The conflicts, aggressions and love of a family seated around the kitchen table. A mother, Amanda, who is abandoned, her artistically minded son Tom who has to work in a shoe factory, and her fragile, dreaming daughter Laura Rose who loves glass animal figures – particularly a unicorn. The concerns of these three people begin to centre on a kind of saviour – the gentleman caller – Jim O'Connor. The limited dimensions of their St. Louis apartment seem unable to contain the enormity of each character's hopes, desires and dreams. These hopes, desires and dreams expressed but sometimes written "between the lines" in Tennessee Williams's brilliant dramatic poetry, are the (wordless) inspiration for my choreography.
Tennessee Williams calls his autobiographical drama a "memory play": All action and emotion are remembered from Tom/Tennessee's past. In my "memory ballet", drama and biography, past and present exist simultaneously and interact.
Music: Charles Ives, Philip Glass, Ned Rorem and fragments of the music mentioned in Tennessee Williams's plays
Choreography, Set, Lighting Concept and Costumes: John Neumeier
Films: Kiran West
2 hours 30 minutes | 1 intermission
Part 1: 80 minutes, Part 2: 45 minutes
Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, December 1, 2019
Laura Rose Wingfield: Alina Cojocaru
Amanda Wingfield: Patricia Friza
Tom Wingfield: Félix Paquet
Jim O'Connor: Christopher Evans
Tennessee: Edvin Revazov
The Unicorn: David Rodriguez
Malvolio: Marc Jubete
Venue: Main Stage, Dammtorstraße 28, 20354 Hamburg
Prices: 7,00 EUR to 119,00 EUR
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