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D.C.-Area Students Step into Tennessee Williams’s Shoes

Monologues figure prominently in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie. Throughout the play, the narrator Tom breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly. We wondered what might happen if the other characters had monologues like Tom does.

We decided to put this challenge to area students who attended one of our three student matinee performances for The Glass Menagerie.

Tom Story as Tom and Madeleine Potter as Amanda in the Ford’s Theatre production of “The Glass Menagerie,” directed by Mark Ramont. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Students who sent entries to our “Missing Monologue” contest had these simple guidelines:

-Write an original monologue for one of the characters in the play

-Write in first person, and include new information or a different perspective

-Use 250 words or fewer

The results were phenomenal! We received dozens of monologues, and each one was a thrill to read. What was apparent throughout the reading of their texts was that the students could easily identify with the characters of this classic play, now 70 years old!

The Ford’s Theatre Education Department judged these monologues on the students’ abilities to find the voice of the character, to use poetic language and to offer a unique viewpoint. We valued monologues that stayed true to Tennessee Williams’s writing style, but offered something of the student playwright creating them.

Our two finalists received tickets to our spring musical, 110 In the Shade, and promise of publication of their winning monologues on the Ford’s Theatre Blog. Read their work below!

Student Finalist : Abigail Long

Madeleine Potter as Amanda in the Ford’s Theatre production of “The Glass Menagerie,” directed by Mark Ramont. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Abigail Long is a junior at Highland School in Warrenton, Virginia. She enjoys both performing in and attending the theatre.

Monologue for Amanda Wingfield:

I suppose I had it coming. I suppose that I should have known that one day, even if it weren’t today, Tom would give in to himself, that he would be his own sea; he would drown me out and then drown himself. I’d always prayed that it wouldn’t be in the liquor, but with a father like Tom’s, some must call me a wishful dreamer. I know, as his mother, that Tom didn’t really mean what he said; but as a woman, I know that he did. I just get fussing over him, and the more I can’t say, the more I have to say. It’s just that sometimes the truth is just too hard, and I’d rather be the fool who denies it than the fool who accepts it. I always thought that a truth not accepted was a truth not existent. I know that their father wasn’t in love with “long distance.” Ha! The cheap dolt would have despised the idea of it. He was in love with any distance he could put between himself and us. And Laura.Sweet, sweet Laura. I know she’s … crippled, but I’ve always imagined that the word would inflict a pain 20 times worse than whatever pain that old leg ever gave her. No, I’d rather sit up here on our own little cloud, watching all the ants on the pavement scurry about because they know that the truth is about to catch them. To me, they’re just another glass menagerie.

Student Finalist: Keveon K. Jackson

Keveon K. Jackson is a rising junior at Fairmont Heights High School in Capitol Heights, Maryland. He enjoys learning about cars, watching the TV show “Top Gear,” and taking road trips to different states with his family.

Jenna Sokolowski as Laura in the Ford’s Theatre production of “The Glass Menagerie,” directed by Mark Ramont. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Monologue for Laura Wingfield:

Throughout my life I denied my shyness. The reason? An incident while I attended business college. That affected my appearance nearly everywhere. Now I am 35. I live in the same apartment, just a different room. My mom was 78 the last time you saw or heard her. The last words I heard were before she passed away two years ago. Tom set out to do what he was attempting—similar like father. I have tried to press on without him. He was the only person who understood me, a quiet girl—like quiet spaces. I work at the nearest library. It’s walking distance. I walk alone, long walks like before. I barely speak. The maximum words I might say would be about 19. I don’t like it, but I can’t wear a sign saying, “Don’t speak to me!” I bumped into that lying man O’Connor, a few months back. He wanted to talk, but I simply told him, “I do not have time.” Five words! He tried to slow me down, but I had no words. I still can’t believe…. He was sweet, encouraging. I’m not living high luxury, but I enjoy my apartment—no one bothering me, getting in my way. I still have those glass figures and cherish them. I figure one would say I have a boring lifestyle, but I do not care. I am happy.  I have never felt so happy in a long time—even for a long time.

Congratulations to both students!

Jennie Berman Eng is Lead Teaching Artist in the Ford’s Theatre Society Education Department.