Courageous choice of drama pays off

Halifax Thespians' production of Broken Glass: from left, Mike Bellenie, Helen Kapil, Penny Wadsworth, Lee Graham, Alistair Cheetham and Leighton Hirst
Halifax Thespians' production of Broken Glass: from left, Mike Bellenie, Helen Kapil, Penny Wadsworth, Lee Graham, Alistair Cheetham and Leighton Hirst

Broken Glass

Halifax Thespians

Halifax Playhouse

It is good to see the Thespians performing a piece by Arthur Miller, opening a day after what would have been his 96th birthday.

Broken Glass was written in 1994 in the midst of the Bosnian conflict. It is a courageous choice, one that looks to have paid off, with the first night crowd boosted by students from Calderdale College.

Miller takes inspiration from the psychoanalysis practised on his wife Marilyn Monroe and portrays the paralysis and subsequent treatment of Sylvia, wife of Phillip “Gellburg not Goldberg”.

The play is rich in metaphor, against the horrors of Kristallnacht, Sylvia’s condition is a comment on the apparent American Jewish apathy to the situation in Germany. And we feel the sexual repression, impotence and power struggle of human relationships in microcosm.

At times the weight of metaphor feels leaden and gets in the way of the drama; however the cast cope well to drive the play on. Penny Wadsworth is, in the main, convincing as Sylvia, worn down by a life in which she confesses: “I took better care of my shoes.”

Leighton Hirst takes the role of Miller’s Everyman, his anger and guilt wrapped in petulance that breaks in a dramatic way to release his wife from her chains.

Like most of Miller’s plays it is very wordy, but never a word too many and the cast do them justice with impressive accents and performances.

Gail Waddington