[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of Arthur Miller’s “Death of A Salesman,” directed by Stephen Juhl, running through May 20 at The Sherry Theater.
“Death of a Salesman” is an American classic. It won a Pulitzer and a Tony for best play and is widely considered to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. Somewhat autobiographical, the play centers around the salesman, Willy Loman, his two sons and wife, and his neighbor and his family. The story is told in vignettes. Scenes of moments drawn from life, jumping around through time, as if Willy’s life is passing before him in the hours before his death.
It’s a masterpiece and hard to forget. This production in the intimate Sherry Theater is as vivid as the words on the paper. The actors play well with the tension of the characters. They create and hold the serious angst of the story, which is tricky to sustain. They tackle the levels of torment and intense dissatisfaction they all have and give room for the words and the rhythm of the prose.
Everyone seems to be trying to make a ‘future.’ Constantly worrying that there isn’t one or that what awaits them is emptiness and pain. Willy himself is a tyrant. A fool who values looks and flash over substance and love. “Death of a Salesman” is a reflection of the American dream at its basest. Drive for drive’s sake with no honor or grace. But the ‘there by the grace of god go I’ of it is a powerful thing. As is taking on a play as bleak and as poignant as this. Truly ambitious, but then that is also a theme here, the reaching for something beyond our grasp that resonates.
The casting is modern and it works very well. The staging is true to the era – grubby and a bit sad. They really have hit every mark without the distraction of turning the play into something it is not. The performances are truthful and honest. And the play flows from moment to moment gracefully. I think it’s a worthy production and full of promise.
The play runs one more weekend, so take a stroll to the Sherry Theater in the heart of NoHo and find out why “Death of a Salesman” is such an important play in the cannon of American drama.
“The Death of a Salesman” Cast
Sammie Wayne, Robin Roth, Aditya Putcha, Hank Fisher, Morry Schorr, Brendan Getches, and Terry Woodberry.
May 12 though May 20.Friday, Saturday @8:30pm, Sunday @6:30pm
The Sherry Theater
11052 Magnolia Blvd, NoHo Arts District, CA 91601.