Theatre in America during the 1930s. During the 1930s, the American Dream had become a nightmare because of the Great Depression. The sudden drop in stock exchange had threatened the land. What was once the land of optimism, had become the land of despair. The promise for success was clearly not fulfilled. Americans started to question and blame the government (rebelling). Society had led to a theatre that was politically and socially conscious The vision of the American Dream is broad, everyone is free, equal and has limitless opportunities. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is what the American strives for.
No one is oppressed or starved and nothing can stop a person from their ambitions. Hard work to improve one’s position in life is promoted. This is the ideal life of an American citizen, but sadly, this wasn’t the case in the 1930s. “…income of the average American family was reduced by 40%, from $2,300 to $1,500. Instead of advancement, survival became the keyword. Institutions, attitudes, lifestyles changed in this decade but democracy prevailed. ”-(www. kclibrary. lonestar. edu/decade30. html) Although this was happening, people did what they could to make their lives happy. Parlor games, board games and movies were popular.
Movie houses opened as theatres closed down. Group theatre was considered “the most distinguished acting company of the 1930s and modelled on the Moscow Acting Theatre. ” – (Dramatic Arts textbook, pg 210) The birth of professional American Theatre begun with the Lewis Hallam troupe during 1752. Theatre was for those who were interested in a theatre which reflected political and social ideals, e. g. Tennessee Williams (T. W). Broadway, Group Theatre and Theatrical Realism was incorporated into T. W’s book, The Glass Menagerie. The Glass Menagerie is partly autobiographical because Tom represents the author as well.
Tom is basically the memory to T. W’s youth. Although T. W writes of his past, he also focuses on the socio-political issues of the American life. Tom’s mother, Amanda Wingfield, is the perfect example of the “negative” in the American Dream. She forces the American Dream upon her children and this suffocates them. In scene 3, Amanda and Tom fight, then Tom ends up calling her a witch. Amanda is still having a hard time coming to the new terms of her status in society because she grew up in a home of social fortune. But she does cause the problem between herself and Tom.