Due to a happy circumstance I once again was able to see a show at The Citadel last night. This time it was a Preview for Death of a Salesman on the Shoctor Stage. A few years ago I saw a very well done production of this play so I wasn't sure how I was going to receive it. It is always hard to judge when you have seen and enjoyed a piece before. However, this production was everything it should be. Although Tom Wood, as Willie Loman, was clearly the anchor for it, it was a true ensemble, with stand-out performances from Wood, John Ullyat (Biff Loman), Brenda Bazinet (Linda Loman) and Tim Campbell (Happy Loman). But that's not really even fair. Not one actor onstage felt miscast or lazy. I could list them all, really, it is really that the core of the play is the family itself. I will admit, I am a bit of an Arthur Miller fan, however, I had a couple friends tell me at intermission and after the show how much they had hated the play when they studied it in high school and how this production reversed their opinion of it. That's impressive.
As is almost always true of The Citadel, the set and lighting was brilliant. The past literally floats in (stunning) and it glows in contrast to the drab present. I found myself haunted by the score which punctuated the piece with it's moodiness. And from Willie's rumpled brown suit to Miss Forsythe's red dress to Happy's mad-men suit, the costumes were letter perfect.
Why this play now? Well, it's perhaps more relevant today with the economic down-turn in recent years and advent of the entitlement generation. Just last week I heard a statistic on the radio about how likely you are to be hired if you are over 54 years old (not very). It speaks to the little guy just trying to get ahead and comments on those who want the short cut, who constantly try to figure out what the secret is. Well, all I know is that in terms of this production, it was well-liked by me.