February 16, 2018 – March 11, 2018
The Usual Place | 100 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas, NV 89101
APF takes a new look at Tennessee Williams’ American classic, re-introducing modern audiences to the Wingfields – Tom, Laura, and their domineering mother Amanda, a wilting southern flower languishing in a St. Louis apartment with the children she cannot, will not understand. The Glass Menagerie is a poetic, searing look into the effects of memory on our understanding of ourselves, our families, and our shared past.
Directors’ Note (from the program)
Let’s talk about memory.
A recent study from Northwestern Medicine published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that the seemingly simple act of recalling a memory actually makes that memory a little less accurate. In fact, the study suggests, each time we remember a thing, we’re actually recalling the memory of the last time we remembered it along with any inaccuracies we’ve introduced in the process. Imagine pulling a book down from a shelf, but before replacing it you change a word or two, re-edit a chapter or alter some of the spelling. The next time you peruse that book, you accept all your previous changes as canon and then make even more small changes before returning it to its place in the library. Do that a few dozen (or a few hundred!) times, and the original book may bear little resemblance to the modified version now sitting on the shelf. Memory, it seems, is therefore always distorted, sometimes even to the point of being completely false.
The Glass Menagerie is a memory play. That is to say, the story is given life by the reminiscences of its narrator, Tom Wingfield, the restless son of a faded southern belle forced through circumstance to live a tenuous, meager existence in a small St. Louis apartment, far from the splendor of their past lives on a sprawling plantation. Tom is a regretful chronicler, obsessed with the past, his mother’s failings and the delicate, broken sister he eventually leaves behind.
But Tom may know what the Northwestern Medicine study only recently discovered. Because after all, the past only exists in the thoughts of those who are thinking about it in the present. It sits in that pocket of our minds where all the edits and interpretations put upon it can either ease our recollections or churn our more anxious spirits. It exists exclusively in our malleable, oh-so-easily altered memory. In that sense, for Tom, for us, it’s never too late to actually do something about the past.
JK and AMP, February 2018