Friends, this is not the way I like to express my thoughts about a play (quickly) – but it’s a necessity because it’s Friday, which means you only have 4 more chances to see this play, and 2 of those are down to limited seating already…
So here goes: Death of a Salesman is masterful. The acting, the staging, the execution of it all – it’s just so carefully and wonderfully crafted. I had never seen this play before I went on Wednesday night, and it’s clear why it’s a classic, why some think it is the greatest American play. The writing is wonderful, the way the words and scenes loop and circle around, moving seamlessly through time as you watch a man in the decline of his life. His brain meanders, confusing the now with the past, and you go right along with him – and all the ways this was accomplished may have been my favorite thing about the play. I can understand what that decline must feel like for someone in a way that I haven’t before, and that kind of realization always feels like a gift to me.
It’s a sobering tale (maybe the title will have already clued you in to that) and much of what I walked away with was how I don’t want my life to beduring those years – but again, I think that is a gift that theater can give us. That picture will stay with me much longer than someone simply telling me, and I will remember it as I’m making the choices now that lead into those days ahead.
If I’m talking more about myself than about the actual play, well, that’s because that’s what this play does to you: shows you the future, holds up a mirror while it dances through the past, asking all the while – how will this be for you?
A couple of quick items that may interest you: Willy Loman, the salesman in question, is played by Robert Walden, who has been in about a million things on Broadway and on TV, including Lou Grant. His oldest son is played by Avery Clark, an Arkansas-born Rep favorite (this is his fourth show there). They, along with the rest of the cast, are simply fantastic.
The Arkansas Repertory Theater was kind enough to provide me with tickets to Death of a Salesman so that I could write about my experience. Opinions and applause are all mine. You can get tickets here or by clicking The Rep logo. Hurry before it’s gone!