A lump in my throat

27 08 2006

I have just returned home from seeing The Glass Menagerie. It has left me – as all moving and transformative theatre does – with a lump in my throat.

It came upon me rather suddenly today. I enjoyed the play, and I was particularly touched with the image that concluded the first half, but I did not feel in anyway overwhelmed until the very ending. It took me off-guard today. The complicated familial relationships, the sense of duty, the sense of longing, hopes that are all too often disappointed – all of this snuck up on me today. Tom began his final speech and suddenly I was overcome to the point of breathlessness, Williams’ word pushing, pushing everything up in me, up to the lump in the throat that contains and controls and, I suppose, suppresses the extreme emotions I feel about all that the work has taught about suffering and love and beauty and the human spirit.

It came home with me today, the lump in my throat, followed me through the door, down and then up the stairs and to the dinner table. I’ve spent the last hour feeling on the verge of tears for a reason I can’t even explain, but the lump, the lump has done its work and kept it at bay. And keeping it in like that, not releasing, not allowing the emotions to (falsely) overflow allows what I saw and what it meant to grow more inside of me. To grow and to haunt and to inspire.

Perhaps I should have seen it coming. There was a big, red flashing sign today. Before the play began, I read an essay in the program. Not all all unusual. What was unusual, what was quite unlike me was being struck – quite emotionally struck – by a passage in the essay.

Talking of Laura’s glass collection, specifically the breaking of the unicorn, the writer, Allan Pero, says: “In being prepared to mourn the loss of [the unicorn’s] horn, Laura makes us realize that she treasured the unicorn because she knew how fragile he was. She loved him as much as she did in the anticipation that she would, some day, lose him.”

The wisest and the most necessary words where you least expect to find them.




5 responses

28 08 2006
Carl V.

It is a very powerful play. I had the good fortune of visiting a friend in NYC and seeing this at the Roundhouse theatre there with a pre-famous Calista Flockheart and the marvelous Julie Christie. It was excellent. I am glad you enjoyed and were moved by the performance that you saw.

28 08 2006

Thanks for the comment, Carl V.!
This was the second time I saw it. Last time was in Toronto with Kiefer Sutherland and his mother Shirley Douglas. I found this production to be even more powerful – or perhaps I’ve just seen it at a stage where it effected me in different way.

29 08 2006
Carl V.

Live theatre is just an amazing experience. I saw Chicago with that same friend and felt like bawling afterward because, despite very non-tear-inducing material, it was just sooooo powerful live!

31 08 2006

I agree. Good theatre – whether the end be happy or sad – should be emotionally overwhelming.

22 10 2008
required reading: selection from Palmer Park « still waters

[…] required reading: selection from Palmer Park 22 10 2008 I was fortunate to see everything at the local theatre festival this summer, and while I enjoyed pretty much everything I saw, the production that moved me the most was Palmer Park.  More of a docu-drama than a traditional play, it did ask some different questions and by the end I found that all too familiar lump in my throat. […]

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