Review of The Glass Menagerie | An artificial drama

The Denise-Pelletier Theater presents a classic by Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, revisited by Alexia Bürger and Fanny Britt. An artificial spectacle without vision… that we will quickly forget.

Leaving the Denise-Pelletier Theater, after the performance of The Glass Menagerie, we search in vain for the meaning of this production. What does Alexia Bürger want to tell us by tackling this legendary work from the North American repertoire? What is his reading of the play? What resonance does she want to give it in today’s world?

We understand that she wanted to move away from realism to embrace the symbolism, the poetry of the text… However, style is not a point of view and her proposal is far from convincing.

And yet, the piece remains current. Through the vision of Tom, narrator of the play and alter ego character of the author, The Glass Menagerie exposes the importance of shining in one’s uniqueness, one’s difference. And to polish this difference to make our suffering humanity shine.

Broken family

The scene is a closed session that takes place in St. Louis, during the Great Depression, in a fragile family that the visit of Jim (Thomas Derasp-Verge) will implode. Amanda Wingfield is a tyrannical mother, manipulative and loving at the same time. His son Tom is a writer (whom we never see write a line in this production!) who has to work in a factory to support his family. Tom dreams of fleeing far away, but protects his sister Laura (Elisabeth Smith), with a “slight handicap” and morbidly shy, who only lives for her menagerie of glass animals.

Their father abandoned them. We see a photo of him which lights up on the stage every time the deserter is mentioned. The decor is made up of large ocher curtains which cover an empty space. We make furniture and accessories appear and disappear, here and there. A beautiful scenography which, unfortunately, takes us away from the harshness of the Wingfields’ daily life.


Élisabeth Smith and Fabrice Yvanoff Senate, who plays Tom in The Glass Menagerie.

Where are we ?

Fanny Britt signs a new translation. It’s hard to explain why… His version mixes language levels. And, just like the staging, fails to place us in a coherent universe. Twice, we see Amanda cover herself with an American flag, as if to remind us where the story takes place!


Élisabeth Smith and Marie-Hélène Thibault in a scene from The Glass Menagerie

The distribution is poorly managed. In the role of Tom, the young Fabrice Yvanoff Sénat recites his text and forgets to act the situation. Marie-Hélène Thibault embodies her character in a single register: angry. Sure, Amanda can be stuffy, but this “Southern Belle” is also driven by a sweet madness. Which we never see in this production. And it’s not the very low-cut dress, worthy of a beauty pageant cheapwhich Amanda wears to receive Jim, her son’s friend, who transmits this fantasy to her.

A little reminder to the designers: Amanda is a Christian mother from the 1930s who says her blessing before every meal. Not a “call girl”…

Consult the part page

The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie

At the Denise-Pelletier TheaterUntil April 9



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