Die Glasmenagerie
  • Dance

© Foto: Kiran West

With the drama "The Glass Menagerie", Tennessee Williams laid the foundation for his fame as one of the most important US writers of the 20th century. Although the success of this production on Broadway was completely unexpected for the 33-year-old author, he had worked towards the premiere with great determination. Williams' aim was to show a new form of theatre with his drama. He wanted to make the essence of man tangible by telling the scenes as a "memory play" from the perspective of personal memories.

By John Neumeier

When I was 17, I saw a play, "The Glass Menagerie," in a theater at the university I was soon to attend. I didn't realize then that the director, Father John Walsh SJ, would become the most important mentor of my life - nor did I know that Joan Schwartz, who played Laura, would one day be as close to me as a real sister.

The strong impression Tennessee Williams' drama made on me has remained unforgettable. Over the years I have repeatedly thought about how it could become a ballet, how Tennessee Williams' extraordinarily moving poetry could be translated into meaningful movements. Ultimately, it was Alina Cojocaru and our joint work on the creation of "Liliom" that convinced me: now is the right time.

The greatest challenge in the choreographic orchestration of this drama quartet is Laura. How should one choreograph a full-length ballet whose central character has a walking disability? In the current rehearsal phase, this question is still at the forefront - although the experience of creating it has resulted in a special dance language.

The story is very simple. It is about a family. The conflicts, the aggressions and the love of a family sitting around the kitchen table. A mother, Amanda, who is abandoned, her artistically inclined son Tom, who has to work in a shoe factory, and her fragile, dreamy daughter Laura Rose, who loves small glass animals - especially a unicorn. The worries of these three people increasingly focus on a kind of savior - the "gentleman caller" (suitor) - Jim O'Connor.

The confined space of their St. Louis apartment seems unable to contain the intensity of the hopes, desires and dreams of each individual character. These hopes, desires and dreams - rarely written down in concrete terms, but rather found between the lines of Tennessee Williams' brilliant dramatic poetry - form the (wordless) inspiration of my choreography.

Tennessee Williams calls his autobiographical drama a "play of memories". The entire plot and all emotions are memories from Tom/Tennessee's past. In my "Ballet of Memories", acting and biography, past and present are simultaneously present and influence each other.

Music: Charles Ives, Philip Glass, Ned Rorem and fragments of music mentioned in Tennessee Williams' plays
Choreography, set design, lighting and costumes: John Neumeier
Films: Kiran West

2 hours 30 minutes | 1 break
Part 1: 80 minutes, Part 2: 45 minutes

Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, 1 December 2019

Laura Rose Wingfield: Alina Cojocaru
Amanda Wingfield: Patricia Friza
Tom Wingfield: Felix Paquet
Jim O'Connor: Christopher Evans
Tennessee: Edvin Revazov
The Unicorn: David Rodriguez
Malvolio: Marc Jubete

2023 Chicago 2024 Baden-Baden

This is an entry from the Event database for the Hamburg metropolitan area.
No liability is assumed for the correctness of the data.
© ThisIsJulia Photography

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