Inspiration and insight from the classics


We all have teachers who had a profound influence on us that continues for life. My english teacher in my last year of school was just one of these! She encouraged us to read widely to increase our horizons and life experience. We all became avid readers!
I heard on the weekend that we are now exposed to more information in one day compared to half a year, 200 years ago. The issue for us now is not how to expand our experiences and exposure to information, but how to manage this. We need to find ways to limit our exposure to that which is meaningful and constructive and can enhance our journey through life. We are bombarded with so much, that we need guidance to isolate that which is worthwhile!
I was very lucky on the weekend to see the current production of The Glass Managerie put on by the Malthouse Theatre. This is one of those classic and brilliant tales that still has much to offer us today. It has a lot to say particularly for those who are working with families in this day and age. The insights into all the characters are still resonating for me today.
I can see the mother struggling to provide the best for her children in very difficult circumstances, but unable to be child focused and look at the situation from their point of view. I agonise with the son, who has taken on the role of breadwinner for this family, which compels him to lead a life that he does not want for himself. The pull to let go of this selfless role and reach for his own personal goals is irresistible, but he must deal with the pressure from a very demanding mother and the dependence of his disabled sister. The sister, who wants to please everyone around her even when this is impossible, and her lack of vision of any foreseeable future.
The play is amazingly clever as it brings all characters to the brink of an abyss. The mother, whether she can recreate the opportunities that she had in her youth for her daughter, so that her daughter has the chance for independence. The daughter, whether her reconnection with the gentleman caller from her past can empower her for love, and a more positive future. The son, whether he can escape the chains that are binding him to a life that gives him no satisfaction and does not provide for his goals.
Their lives of all of them are so intertwined that the decision of one impacts on them all, with, potentially, or perhaps inevitably, disastrous consequences for all.
I learned a lot from this play. It showed me above all that it is dangerous to consider only the story of one member in a tale. To improve such a situation, they must all come together, understand the impact on the others, and strive for an outcome that will promote the benefit of all. Conflict coaching and family dispute resolution would be a very constructive pathway for this family. Conflict coaching for each to understand their goals, underlying interests and options, and appreciate those of the other players. Family dispute resolution to generate options and negotiate an outcome that might meet all of their interests and enable each to work towards their own goals. They also require ongoing support to ensure that whatever happens, this has the flexibility to meet the inevitable changes that life will bring.
I cannot recommend this play highly enough! The script is amazing, the set, costumes and acting superb! Definitely a “must see”!

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