Edward Seckerson ventured into the rehearsal room to talk to him about the intricate process that marries music to drama, be it on celluloid or stage. He talks about what fires his imagination and how, for instance, a typewriter (in Atonement) or a piano (in Pride and Prejudice) might unlock the colour and character of a score.
Williams' plays - and especially this one generally accepted now as autobiographical - are rooted in reality but rich in poetic imagery, a kind of heightened dream world. In this case Laura's little glass animals point to her fragility and vulnerability. Director Joe Hill-Gibbons believes that this character and this play are the closest we ever get to Tennessee Williams' inner world.
Marianelli has been lucky with Joes - Joe Wright (for Pride and Prejudice and Atonement) opened more doors for him in Hollywood; Joe Hill-Gibbons has lured him back to where the music will be live and integral to the on-stage drama. Think glass, think improvised percussion, think sound effects... It's unusual for a composer to be so much a part - hands on, in every respect - of the rehearsal process. What has he come up with? Click and listen...
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The Glass Menagerie opens at the Young Vic from 17 November 2010 (previews from 11 November) until 1 January 2011.