Broken Glass

by Arthur Miller

Broken Glass had 4 performances over 11 years ago (between the 25th of March 2009 and the 28th of March 2009) at The Riverhouse Barn

Written when Arthur Miller was 78 years old, “Broken Glass” has all the in-depth truth we expect of his plays. It was first presented in England at the National Theatre by Richard Eyre in 1994 with Henry Goodman, Ken Stott and Sally Edwards in the main roles. It is a very intimate play, simply set, very suited to The Riverhouse Barn.

Set in Brooklyn, New York at the end of November 1938. Sylvia Gellburg has suddenly, mysteriously become paralysed from the waist down. As the play starts, her husband, Phillip, and her doctor meet to discuss the prognosis and test results. Dr Hyman assures Phillip that, physically, there is nothing wrong with his wife and she is sane but advises the only way to discover the cause of her paralysis is to probe into her psyche. At this point, Miller begins to peel away all the layers of the characters’ lives in this deeply effective exploration of both the expectations within a marital relationship and what it meant to be American and Jewish in 1938.

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Phillip Gellburg - David Webb

(Mid 40s/50s) An intense man who hates himself and hates being Jewish. Desperately proud of his son being given a commission in the army proving that Jews don’t just have to be doctors, lawyers or businessmen. Loves his wife but his self hatred has made him cold, critical and sometimes violent towards her in the past. He is very defensive of anything to do with his personal life where he has failed. A lost contract at work results in a heart attack. When he finally comes to terms with what needs to be done in his life, it proves to be too late.

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Sylvia Gellburg - Linda Russell

(Mid 40s/50s) A capable, warm woman, very sensitive. Disturbed about the atrocities going on in Germany with the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews. Bewildered and frustrated by her sudden paralysis rendering her utterly helpless. She has lacked physical love and care from her husband and warms to the attentions of Dr Hyman. A passionate, sensitive role requiring real truthful playing within limited areas of movement as she is confined to bed/wheelchair until the very end of the play.

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Dr.Harry Hyman - Graham Collier

(Mid 40s/50s) A conventially handsome man with great charm and presence, one for the ladies in his youth. He is a determined, scientific idealist, his obsessive determination to cure Sylvia taking him out of the usual realms of his professional experience. He is attracted to Sylvia’s inner beauty and strength of character. His investigation finally reveals the truth. Real contrast to Gellburg.

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Margaret Hyman - Lynne Walters

(40s/50s) Harry’s wife and receptionist/nurse. Lusty and energetic, she sees the lighter side of life. A great talker and laugher; very caring and aware.

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Harriet - Michelle Blake

(late 30s/40s) Sylvia’s younger sister. Very concerned about her sister, admires her and values her opinion. Very aware of the control Phillip has over Sylvia. 3 good scenes

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Case - Colin Bailey

(40s) Phillip Gellburg’s boss. He has used his contacts to further the education of Gellburg’s son in military academy but is not particularly interested in him or Gellburg. He is mainly concerned with making money and sailing his yacht. 3 short scenes important in the breakdown of Gellburg

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Director - Jane Walters

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Stage Manager - Clare Pinnock

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Lighting - Bill Payne

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Sound - Jakub Bednar

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Photography - Alan Bostock (www.photoeyes.biz)

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Wardrobe - Gillian Smithies

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Poster and Programme Design - Anne Nunn

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Continuity - Jill Payne

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Nick Lund

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Clare Pinnock

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Adam Roberts

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Linda Russell

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Liz Thomas

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Ian Thomas

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Set Construction - Nancy Lund

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Sound (assisted) - Ian Santry

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Lighting (Assistant) - Gareth Woodford

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Properties - Anne Nunn

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Properties - Clare Pinnock

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Publicity - Gillian Smithies

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Publicity - Frankie Godliman

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Front of House Manager - Frankie Godliman