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Director Ellen McDougall on The Glass Menagerie

Tom Jackson Greaves & Ellen McDougall in rehearsal © Manuel Harlan
Tom Jackson Greaves & Ellen McDougall in rehearsal © Manuel Harlan

Why did you want to direct this play?

The theatricality of the writing appealed to me strongly and I found the themes very moving. The idea that the beautiful things in life are often the most vulnerable.

What was your initial response to the play?

It is delicate and extremely powerful at the same time. The characters are very complex and detailed. It feels very truthful partly because it is deeply autobiographical.

What aspect of the play appeals to you most?

The relationships between the characters. The idea it is also about this very personal experience and a wider political moment - the depression of the 30s and the outbreak of devastating world war.

What can a person expect when they go to see your version of The Glass Menagerie?

An intense detailed portrayal of a family torn apart; an impressionistic production that communicates the emotional experience rather than an objective factual account of a moment in history.

Finally, what would your advice be to anyone thinking of becoming a director?

Read lots of stories – novels, poems and plays. Be engaged with people and the world around you. Be interested in what motivates people to behave the way they do. Try to be true to yourself to the way you see things rather than presenting work that you think people want to see.