Arthur Miller's All My Sons
Markie got tickets to Arthur Miller's All My Sons from her friend Jon Kretzu, who directed the Portland Artists Repertory Theatre's production this fall. If you're intersted in seeing it, the last show starts in about two hours from the time I'm typing this, so my guess is you're going to have to move faster than light to get there (and therefore reverse the flow of time, which means you might want to fix your stock portfolio before checking out a play).
We started with drinks at the Hotel Deluxe (the old Mallory Hotel) which has this kind of mid-century modernity that's perfect for setting the mood before going to the theater. Washing down oysters and a Caesar salad with a martini with a twist made from the Rougue Pink Vodka, I completely lost track of time, but we made it to the theater just before the locked the doors (my phone was actually 10 minutes slow -- damn you AT&T!).
They're remodeling the ART, which considering they took over the Portland Opera offices and turned them into a mini-plex of live theater (okay, two stages), the remodel was a long time coming. It will be equally retro-modern when they're done, and I'm looking forward to the unveiling.
As for the show itself, the cast did an amazing job. I have yet to be disappointed with the ART -- this was the second Arthur Miller play I've seen at the there (the other being The Crucible, I still have yet to see Death of a Salesman anywhere) and I think the fifth show I've seen there in total.
Amy Newman gave a performance that felt like I was looking back in time to 1947, and I'd love to have a guy on staff with the sales skills Michael Fisher-Welsh showed in his Joe Keller (not that you want Joe Keller working for you).
Excellent costumes, staging, and set design (was it minimal? or was it just the back yard of a suburban home?). The only flaw was summed up by our friend Nancy thought it took a while to get to the center of things -- which isn't a flaw, it's part of the character of the play.
Now, don't get me wrong, the journey is a big part of Miller's work, and honestly a big part of most good theater. But there's something about these plays in that were so groundbreaking in their day; they did such a good job of breaking the ground that the ground is so broken up they've lost some of their impact.
We've seen McCarthyism worked over so much that The Crucible is almost a textbook attack on the idea. And we've seen so many stories of hidden secrets that destroy otherwise idyllic lives that we've almost come to expect it, rather than being shocked when the good guys turn out to be not quite as good as everyone thought.
But, even though the impact is different than it would have been in 1947, before the gross neglect of our soldiers in places like Vietnam or the Gulf War, or before so many TV hacks wrote their 30 minute less commercial break versions of Miller's plays, the works are still relevant, if only to force us to look at the source, and that source is usually ourselves.