This is an excerpt
from a longer adaptation
of Tennessee Williams’s
The Glass Menagerie (1944).
(Laura stands at the centre of the stage. Tom and Amanda enter the stage and stand at either sides of Laura. All three solemnly face the audience. Amanda is spotlit.)
Amanda: It was the first and last time Tom swore and erupted… with such piercing hatred in his eyes that sliced right through my heart (places her hands upon her chest as she speaks). And he left (pauses to stifle the onset of tears)—as how I always knew he would. But never had I envisioned such an abrupt and disheartening departure. Gone like a tornado, leaving behind an old, dying soul… and his helpless sister—oh my poor Laura. What have I done to deserve this? A broken marriage and a broken family. Dreams – they can be intoxicating like a drug, clouding our priorities. (To an imaginary Tom and her absent husband) Why do you dream such brutal dreams? Why—oh why isn’t a wholesome family, a lovable companion worth dreaming for? What is more tormenting than having to live a life without company and die a lonely death?
(The spotlight on Amanda goes off. Tom is spotlit.)
Tom: (relieved, finally breaks free) Looking back, I have realised I lived, lived as if I were a mannequin, lived how Mum had wanted to shape me, lived in what she’d always wanted me to do. Yeah! I’ve lived for her… twenty-fucking-one years! I’d lived as if I had been some sort of walking dead, praising, pleasing whatever Mum desires. Sometimes, I question “where has my voice gone? Where has my lost soul been?” (Pauses) I didn’t go to the movies—I went much further. And now I get to see the world, without it always coming upon me unaware, taking me altogether by surprise… Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, Laura. (pauses) Break through Laura… Break through! Go search what you desire! … So goodbye… Laura… goodbye…
(The spotlight on Tom goes off. Laura is spotlit.)
Laura: (her face lights up with a glimpse of hope, subtle but unmistakable) I tried, I really did try—though ultimately failed to make Mum proud. (Pause with silent remorse, but quickly dethroned by hope) But I am thankful. Thankful that all these had happened. Thankful that Tom has finally set himself free. Mum says he is selfish—“like father, like son” she says. But I reckon he has found his inner voice—a voice buried deep in the hefty folds of his subconscious, a voice that sings the invigorating tune of ambition. I might have one too—I think I do. It is soft and delicate, unlike Tom’s. But it speaks, as unapologetically as can be, of the dreams I have, and of the wishes I make. Ppp… perhaps—maybe one day, this lovely melody that I have been composing in my head—one that I have been rehearsing hundreds and thousands of times, will just be loud enough—just loud enough to be heard. To be heard by somebody—absolutely anybody… (turns off cell phone)
Naterlie Ip is a BA ENG and BEd ELT Student.
A self-proclaimed ‘ethnic minority activist, Leo Lau is completing a BA in English & BEd ELT. [Read all entries by Leo here.]
.Christy Leung is a BA ENG and BEd ELT Student.
Charis Yeung is a BA ENG and BEd ELT Student.