Death of a Salesman
7th - 15th June 2002
~ Directed by Chris Janes ~
Death of a Salesman is a deceptively simple play. Its plot revolves around the last twenty-four hours in the life of Willy Loman, the hard working sixty-three-year-old travelling salesman whose ideas of professional and public success jar with the realities of his private desires and modest accomplishments.
Subtitled "Certain private conversations in two acts and a requiem," the play has a narrative which unwinds largely through Willy's daydreams, private conversations revealing past family hopes and betrayals, and how those experiences, commingled with entropic present circumstances, culminate in Willy's death. Realizing that in death he may provide for his family in ways he never could during his lifetime, Willy commits suicide, hoping that his insurance will grant Biff a "twenty thousand dollar" deliverance, an extended period of grace. He hopes the insurance money will somehow expiate, or at least minimize, the guilt that he feels for his affair at the Standish Arms Hotel a lifetime ago. The simplicity of the play, however, quickly dissolves into filial ambiguity, civic paradox, and philosophic complexity.
Death of a Salesman was written in six weeks in the spring of 1948, but it had been brewing in Miller's mind for ten years. It's 742 performances put it among the longest recorded Broadway runs; it received the Pulitzer Prize for Theatre and was later filmed. Miller himself defined his aim in the play as being "to set forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life". As relevant today as it was in 1948 this play arguably constitutes the best American play ever written.
Chris Janes has previously directed six plays for The Company of Players, including The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, California Suite and Two.
|Keith Thompson||Willy Loman|
|Jackie Lawn||Linda Loman|
|Andy Howell||Biff Loman|
|Paul Morton||Happy Loman|
|Loretta Freeman||The Woman|
|Hannah Wilkinson||Stage Manager|
|Jean Walker||Production Secretary|