The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams at Theatr Clwyd.
(Set of The Glass Menagerie)
The play is based on the life of Tennessee Williams. Reading the programme I discovered that his sister, like Laura in the play, was subject to hysteria, and his real-life sister was eventually lobotomised because of it. Tennessee Williams too was plagued by depression, and attributed the success of his play to the genius of one of the first actors - who in turn was plagued by alcoholism. It is a play borne out of mental turmoil, then, and is suitably intense - a courting scene leads quickly into another rancorous scene between mother and son with the hapless Laura caught in between - and there is a constant unhappy tension.
(Underground entrance to Theatr Clwyd)
I enjoyed all of it, but it was the narrator's speech at the end which impressed me the most. He talks about seeing glass in a shop window. By then he has followed his father and run away from his controlling mother and 'crippled' sister. He imagines he's free of them but then he comes upon glass - twinkling and glowing in the lights of the window. It is then that he feels his sister's tap on his shoulder, and as he turns he realises he has not truly escaped, and that he never shall. His sister's menagerie, maybe symbolising all the experiences that form us, will always be with him - just as the memory of this play, perhaps more than many I have seen, will always be with me too.
(View of Clwydian hills from Theatr Clwyd).