Let’s Talk About That The Glass Menagerie Revival Poster & Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure
January 10th, 2017
by Josh Ferri
“Is it supposed to be one of Laura’s glass figurines?”
“Is it a historical piece of art?”
“What am I looking at exactly?”
Of course, this is the typical conversation happening around the new poster for the upcoming The Glass Menagerie revival starring Sally Field. It turns out the figure at the bottom of the art is Henry Moore’s modernist sculpture Reclining Figure (1969-1970).
Perhaps the mystery of how this image relates to Tennessee Williams’ classic memory play can be solved in the piece’s history. The artist Henry Moore is considered one of the great British artists of the 20th century, with his popularity peaking in the 1960s. He often returned to the motifs of the mother and child (which is very Glass Menagerie) and the reclining figure. According to Columbia University’s Roberto Ferrari, “Reclining Figure is meant to suggest the form of a woman with her legs outstretched before her, propping herself up with her forearm.” Laura & the gentleman caller, Jim? Amanda and her former beaus? How becoming a mother to adult children distorts how society views women’s sexuality? This faceless woman who barely resembles the human form anymore. All possible theories.
The figure made world headlines in 2005 when one of the six casts was stolen from Moore’s Hertfordshire estate. (Keep in mind, she big. She weighed 2.1 tons!) Many believe the piece was destroyed and sold for scrap. In 2016, Reclining Figure made headlines again when Columbia University students protested the art’s presence in front of the Butler Library on the New York City campus because they didn't like the way it looked. Is the answer in these sensational stories? A great beautiful piece boiled down to scrap in its final moments? Or a piece of art and beauty that could only be seen by the younger generation as an unwelcome eyesore?
At the production’s wish, we won’t know the actual reasoning SpotCo and producer Scott Rudin chose Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure as the image for this revival of The Glass Menagerie, but how awesome that a Broadway poster has as many theories and interpretations as Westworld or The OA.