Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My very own Tennessee Williams moment today.

One of my favourite ever plays is one of his: The Glass Menagerie.

Central character (is that fair? When there are only four in total? Anyway) is Amanda Wingfield. Mother of two. A hopeless romantic dreamer of a boy trapped in a dead end job. And a hopeless romantic dreamer of a girl with a terrible limp and a giant sense of her own inadequacy. Poor Mother Amanda is also a hopeless romantic dreamer, both when it comes to re-imagining her past and re-imagining her hopeless loser childrens' futures.

One of the features of Mother's hopeless romantic dreaming is a hungry wish to see her daughter married off and thus unloaded from her own clawlikes. Perhaps in a bid to spur said daughter on - or perhaps in a bid only to revel in her (former) glories, she spends much of the play recollecting the glorious afternoon in her youth when she was Scarlet O'Hara thin, bee-aa-uutiful, deliciously charming and consequently received - in one single afternoon - a prize total of seventeen - 17! - gentleman callers. "Why, sometimes there weren't chairs enough to accommodate them all."

Today, on the approach to my local supermarket, I was accosted by a squat old gentleman, laden with bulging carrier bags. He told me first of his recently broken hip. Oh my, the painkillers they gave him in hospital did nothing to numb the pain. And then leaning into me, breathing pungent alcohol fumes into the inoffensively mild night air, seamlessly segued into the fact that when he was young, oh my, the girls had loved him. (On account of his unbroken hip?) It was a rare day that he didn't have six - 6! - girls knocking at his door wanting to take him out. Six! He rocked and leaned and breathed the fumes and exclaimed the six! I ran out of polite murmurings quite quickly.

But just think. My very own (male) Amanda Wingfield. Right on my doorstep.

Ripe for a staging.


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