Great Moments in New York Theater -- Death of a Salesman
Pat showed me Death of a Salesman.
I respect Arthur Miller. I have been to see productions of his plays and sort of enjoyed them. I understand his importance in the history of theater. I just never hear rhapsodies when I am at one of his plays. I also have this trouble with Eugene O’Neill – I find his plays really long and verbose; but that is another story for another day. The point is that, whenever there is a Miller revival (or O’Neill, I always make sure Pat sees it but I usually send him alone, not wishing to spend hard earned money on something I run a risk of not enjoying). When Death of a Salesman was revived, Pat put his foot down and insisted that I see it. I didn’t argue much because it was starring Brian Dennehy, Elizabeth Franz and Kevin Anderson, all actors to whom I am devoted. So, for the sake of my husband and so that I could see three of my favs in one play, I was willing to sit forever, listening to the plodding verbosity of American’s greatest playwright.
Well. I owe Arthur Miller an apology.
I loved the play.
I also loved the production and the acting and the entire experience. Not once did my mind wander or did I doze off (there is always a risk with me, a lifelong insomniac). I was riveted the entire time. The story, the dialogue, those astounding performances.. it simply grabbed me and held me captive, the entire time. When the play was over, I found myself breathless- literally, unable to breathe. This has happened only a handful of other times in my life. M Butterfly, Cabaret, Angels in America come to mind. I’ll have to sit and ponder what the others are, if there are any… This time, though, it was Death of a Salesman. I guess it left everyone else breathless, too, because Tonys were awarded to Mr Dennehy and Miss Franz – and had I been a voter, I would have voted for them, too. I cheered, watching that telecast, for these two talents, so supremely endowed by God with an overabundance of gifts that they have been using to entertain all of us for more years than I imagine they would like me to count. I will say, though, that it was a shame Kevin Anderson could not take home a Tony, too. There are things about his performance that I still think about – some periods of my life, as often as once a day. And once a day I DO think about Elizabeth Franz giving her attention must be paid speech. That affected me so much that it has become a part of the mosaic that is me. I have adopted this philosophy into my life and, now, always make the attempt to pay these attentions to the people around me. It shows respect to those people, to Elizabeth Franz, to Linda Loman and to Mr Miller.
I’m so happy to have seen this production that I don’t think I will ever see another. That would just be a let down.