The Glass Menagerie On A (very silent) Halloween NightThursday, November 01, 2007
I hate halloween.
It wasn't until my waning last years in Mexico City in the early 70s, when American culture was moving south, enexorably, as Mexicans were moving north, that I became aware of the phenomenon called halloween. Street urchins would come up to me and stick their hand out and plead, "Jefe, dame mi halloween." Mexicans had become aware of the festivity perhaps thanks to the American style drugstore chain called Sanborns. Mexico had its own holiday. November 1 is celebrated as All Saints Day, and November 2(All Souls Day)is Dia de los Muertos. Recently local and federal Mexican governments have been trying to stamp out the custom of having picnics in cemeteries on the day of the dead. Families will spend the day on top of their departed loved ones'graves. Bakeries make a brisk business selling sweet bread with the shape of bones on top and personalized sugars skulls (the name of your sweetheart on the forehead and dazzling sequins in the eye sockets. The cheap tabloids have a feast day writing up the most grizzly murders of the day.
I have never been prepared for numerous and unceasing knocks and doorbell ringing.I hate halloween.
But I remember those halloweens in Burnaby in the middle 70s and early 80s when my two daughters were young girls. It often rained and they would come home cold and wet. I felt sorry for them. They ignored me as they emptied their large black garbage bags of sweet booty. I ignored their protests when I helped myself to the chocolate covered peanuts. I tried to disappear on those nights to punk rock concerts the Japanese Hall or the Odd Fellows Hall. And until now I hardly ever made myself answer the door on halloween. Rosemary has had that chore all along.
But yesterday we finally had the perfect excuse not to be home. We went to the opening performance of the Arts Club Theatre Company production of The Glass Menagerie. On the way to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage we stopped to snap a few pictures of Rebecca and Lauren all dressed up and ready to go for their loot. I looked at Hilary (34) and fondly remembered the picture I had taken outside our Burnaby townhouse some 30 years ago.
The Tennessee Williams play has an excellent cast. Gabrielle Rose with a suffocatingly good Southern accent is the perfect has-been genteel mother, Amanda. Her shy daughter, Laura is played by Cherise Clarke in a performance that reminded me of a wonderful Mare Winningham that I photographed so many years ago. Both Winningham and Clarke had a silent presence. During last night's play it seemed as the less Clark said the more Rose said. This was fascinating as I could even see a physical family resemblance between them. Craig Erickson played the overachieving Jim with convincing aplomb but it was Robert Moloney who played Tom (Laura's brother and Amanda's son) that I felt drawn to the most. His hair would stand up in such a way that I thought of an even more serious and tragic Stan Laurel.
Rosemary who is always so critical said of the one hour long first act, "That was short," to my amazement. I had an excellent time. I never had to open the door to screaming children, not even once.