CULTURE

‘Glass Menagerie’ an ode to a tender soul

Giasemi Kilaidoni, who is starring as Laura in the Metaxourgeio Theater’s production of Tennessee Williams’s «Glass Menagerie,» admits that the «role was one I had never really considered playing. This is one of the reasons why I approached it without any real fear,» she adds. The production is being presented in cooperation with the Volos Regional Municipal Theater and also stars Anna Vagena as Amanda, Alberto Feis as Tom and Giorgos Chrysostomou as Jim. The play is directed by Nebosja Bradic and the music and sets are by Loukianos Kilaidonis. «The character of Laura is based on a real person,» said the actress playing the part. «’The Glass Menagerie’ is written entirely for her. When I read Tennessee Williams’s biography I recognized his sister Rose, the real Laura, who began displaying psychological problems at the age of 28. I began working on my role from the information I got from reading this,» explained Kilaidoni. «Laura is an extremely difficult part,» she added. «She is passive, accepting and very observant. She never lets loose. Even the manner in which she avoids dealing with reality is so esoteric. She has no violent reactions.» «The Glass Menagerie,» the first Tennessee Williams play to win him international acclaim, explores the friction between an aging Southern belle in 1937 St Louis and her son, an aspiring poet who is seen as selfish because he wants to be free of his asphyxiating home ties. But the play’s soul belongs to Laura, the young, crippled daughter. Laura is shy and introverted, spending most of her time tending to her collection of small glass animals. Seeing her shyness and sensitive about her disability, the mother pins all her hopes for Laura’s future on marriage, but the man Laura is interested in only leads her on. «There are many Lauras today. Maybe not in the same form or with the same sensitivities. Every family has someone like her and every single one of us uses a distraction in a similar way to avoid reality. It may not be a collection of glass animals, but books, poetry or films,» Kilaidoni noted. What is the message Laura represents? «That every single person is special and that we should all safeguard our uniqueness,» Kilaidoni said. «The part that really moves me in the play is at the end, when she realizes Jim will not be coming back. That is the beginning of the end for her. If the play did not end there, we would see that she never succeeds in embracing reality again. After every single performance I need some time to get myself back together. But, I also can’t wait for the performance to begin every night. It is a magical hour. I feel very fortunate to have this way to express myself.»