This study will analyze elements of Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie. The play will be analyzed from the point of view of method acting, using the book Method Actors, by Steve Vineberg. This study disagrees with Williams himself, who says that his play should not be presented realistically. Method acting is based on the belief that emotions should be acted realistically.
The theory of method acting as described by Vineberg began with Konstantin Stanislavski in Russia. Today, in the United States, Vineberg says that
American culture has led our actors straight to it.
. . . The Method, because of its link with realism, its affirmation of Freud, and its focus on adolescent rebellion as the core of much adult behavior, is a natural dramatic expression of the way Americans understand and define themselves (Vineberg xii).
Williams' play is mainly about Laura's search for love and her fragileness. She is an extremely emotional character, and it is important for the success of the play that her emotions are expressed in a realistic and believable way. In the college production of the play which I saw, the actor playing Laura was not able to express the character's emotions realistically, and the result was painful and embarrassing. If she had been trained in the Method, she would have more likely been able to do so. The techniques of the Method help the actor express emotions through the character which let the audience believe that they are seeing a human being undergoing real and painful emotions. There were also problems with the other characters (especially Tom and Amanda) and their efforts to portray emotions realistically, but the actor playing Laura was the worst. Her failure was most important because she is the emotional center of the play.
The part of the Method which this study will focus on is the realism which the Method is supposed to bring out in an actor's portrayal of a character. The production...