[JIM lights a cigarette and leans indolently back on his elbows smiling at LAURA with a warmth and charm which lights her inwardly with altar candles. She remains by the table, picks up a piece from the glass menagerie collection, and turns it in her hands to cover her tumult.]
JIM [after several reflective puffs on his cigarette]: What have you been doing since high school?
[She seems not to hear him.]
[LAURA looks up.]
I said what have you done since high school, Laura?
LAURA: Nothing much.
JIM: You must have been doing something these six long years.
JIM: Well, then, such as what?
LAURA: I took a business course at business college –
JIM: How did that work out?
LAURA: Well, not very – well – I had to drop out, it gave me – indigestion –
[JIM laughs gently.]
JIM: What are you doing now?
LAURA: I don’t do anything – much. Oh please don’t think I sit around and do nothing! My glass collection takes up a good deal of time. Glass is something you have to take care of.
JIM: What did you say – about glass?
LAURA: Collection I said – I have one – [She clears her throat and turns away again, acutely shy.]
JIM [abruptly]: You know what I judge to be the trouble with you? Inferiority complex! [..] Everybody excels in some one thing. Some in many! [He unconsciously glances at himself in the mirror.] All you’ve got to do is discover in what!
JIM: Because I believe in the future of television! [turning his back to her.] I wish to be ready to go up right along with it. Therefore I’m planning to get in on the ground floor. In fact, I’ve already made the right connections and all that remains is for the industry itself to get under way! Full steam – [His eyes are starry.] Knowledge – Zzzzp! Money – Zzzzp! – Power! That’s the cycle democracy is built on!
[His attitude is convincingly dynamic. LAURA stares at him, even her shyness eclipsed in her absolute wonder. He suddenly grins.]
I guess you think I think a lot of myself!
LAURA: No-o-o-o, I –
JIM: Now how about you? Isn’t there something you take more interest in than anything else?
LAURA: Well, I do – as I said – have my –glass collection –
[A peal of girlish laughter rings from the kitchenette.]
JIM: I’m not right sure I know what you’re talking about. What kind of glass is it?
LAURA: Little articles of it, they’re ornaments mostly! Most of them are little animals made out of glass, the tiniest little animals in the world. Mother calls them a glass menagerie! Here’s an example of one, if you’d like to see it! This one is one of the oldest. It’s nearly thirteen.
[Music: ‘The Glass Menagerie’.]
[He stretches out his hand.]
Oh, be careful – if you breathe, it breaks!
JIM: I’d better not take it. I’m pretty clumsy with things.
LAURA: Go on, I trust you with him! [She places the piece in his palm.] There now – you’re holding him gently! Hold him over the light, he loves the light! You see how the light shines through him?
JIM: It sure does shine!
LAURA: I shouldn’t be partial, but he is my favourite one.
JIM: What kind of a thing is this one supposed to be?
LAURA: Haven’t you noticed the single horn on his forehead?
JIM: A unicorn, huh?
JIM: Unicorns – aren’t they extinct in the modern world?
LAURA: I know!
JIM: Poor little fellow, he must feel sort of lonesome.
LAURA [smiling]: Well if he does, he doesn’t complain about it. He stays on a shelf with some horses that don’t have horns and all of them seem to get along nicely together.
JIM: How do you know?
LAURA [lightly]: I haven’t heard any arguments among them!
JIM [grinning]: No arguments, huh? Well, that’s a pretty good sign! Where shall I set him?
LAURA: Put him on the table. They all like a change of scenery once in a while!
JIM: Well, well, well, well – [He places the glass piece on the table, then raises his arms and stretches.] Look how my big shadow is when I stretch!
LAURA: Oh, oh yes – it stretches across the ceiling!
JIM [crossing to the door]: I think it’s stopped raining. [He opens the fire-escape door and the background music changes to a dance tune.] Where does the music come from?
LAURA: From the
across the alley. Paradise Dance Hall
JIM: How about cutting up the rug a little, Miss Wingfield?