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dirac

Arthur Miller's centenary

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Not his biggest fan, myself, but all the same, attention must be paid, and rightly so.

Miller told me he had been trying to write a different kind of play for years. He wrote Death of a Salesman in six weeks.

"And the consequence was the form of Death of a Salesman, which at one and the same time carries forward his business life, his sexual life, his family life. The whole rounded picture. Which you can't do in a straight realistic form," Miller said.

Related.

She was instantly smitten by the tall, Pulitzer Prizewinning author who was still married at the time. Miller possessed all the things she wanted: intellectual achievement, seriousness and artistic ambition. They married in 1956....

A new production of A View From the Bridge.

Van Hove’s great trick is to balance detailed, low-key and almost cinematic naturalistic performances within a non-naturalistic framework and let them bounce off each other in a series of dazzling reflections that enable us to see Miller’s play anew. From the menacing tick of a clock to the under-scoring with Fauré’s Requiem, this is a meticulously conceived production that reinvents Miller without ever getting in the way of the view.

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I’ve never seen a stage production of Bridge but I did see the movie and read Miller’s original versified version, and quite frankly any “reinvention” could only help.

On the other hand, “The Crucible” improves with the years IMO and has survived better than anyone probably thought it would at the time of its original production, and not only because it’s become required reading in classrooms.

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I feel the exact opposite, dirac. I have never felt that the Crucible was one of Miller's greatest plays, but I have been enthralled by two productions I have seen of A View From the Bridge. The first time I saw it was during a 1998 Broadway run, with Anthony LaPaglia, Allison Janney and Brittany Murphy. The acting was great and the story was fascinating. The next revival I saw was with Liev Schreiber, who is such an intense stage presence. He was mesmerizing. Scarlett Johansson played the young girl and won the Tony for it, but she seemed too worldly for the role.

I think there is a new production of Crucible coming to Broadway in 2016.

Brian Dennehy in Death of a Salesman ranks up there among my most cherished theater experiences.

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I think Brian Dennehy is one of the most underrated actors today. His James Tyrone (father) in "Long Day's Journey into Night" in the early '00's is my all-time favorite theater performance. He stole the show from Vanessa Redgrave and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Robert Sean Leonard was excellent as Edmund in a soft, understated way.)

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Yes, I loved Dennehy in Long Day's Journey. Another great performance. But I felt that Redgrave was his equal and also gave a heartbreaking performance.

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I thought Redgrave's performance would have been equal if Mary Tyrone had been a belligerent alcoholic, not a morphine addict. Ruby Dee is my gold standard for Mary Tyrone.

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I think Death of a Salesman and The Crucible both qualify as classics, but I would hesitate to call either of them great. (I wouldn’t call Miller great.) A View from the Bridge never made much sense to me – the “incest” theme is a red herring and the dramatic situation did not seem to me to be the stuff of tragedy, to put it mildly. I don’t doubt your impressions or that powerful actors could make it an evening worth sitting through. The Crucible has its problems but it can be effective even in a less than first rate production.

I admire The Misfits in its original form as a short story. The movie Everybody Wins, directed by Karel Reisz with an original screenplay by Miller, is a mess, but an interesting mess.

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Arthur Miller's works have always been very popular and frequently produced in the UK. His centenary was celebrated recently by the BBC . There's a piece from various actors and directors analysing why here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34538558

There was a collection of programmes on BBC Radio 3 and 4 to commemorate the centenary. Details are here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03425n9

12 programmes in all including new productions of two plays and some short stories. All still available I think via the BBC web site (if you can access these - if not geo-blocked)

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