CELIA IPIOTIS REVIEWS '"DEATH OF A SALESMAN"
Attention must be paid to The Death of A Salesman, Arthur Miller's American tragedy starring Wendell Pierce (the doomed Willy Loman), Sharon D. Clarke (the stalwart wife, Linda Loman), and the sons, McKinley Belcher III (Happy Loman) and Biff Loman (Khris Davis).
On the brink of psychological and spiritual collapse, Loman, an aging and increasingly out-of-touch salesman, rants against the forces that push time ahead of him. Disturbed by his unscalable descent, Linda Loman calls their two sons home to help level the shaky raft.
Problematically, the two sons wrestle with their own ingrained demons. Once a promising football star, Biff finds he must repeat math in summer school to graduate. Intent on discussing his future with his father, Biff walks in on him having an affair. Stunned by the betrayal, Biff drops out of school and never realizes his potential. Then there's Happy, the younger brother. He enjoys a passion for women, drink and fast money.
Once back home, the brothers fall into deeply creased patterns in relation to one another and their parents. Everyone appears to live in dreams built on quicksand. Much as they love their father, the boys can't straighten out their own lives, and like their father, they can't find their way in a rapidly changing world.
Forcefully directed by Miranda Cromwell, the potent cast reveals shifting layers of tolerance. An unadorned set by Anna Fleischle allows the imagination to sift through competing fantasies.
One of the more compelling fantasies materializes in the form of Willy's ghostly older brother Ben, the magnetic Andre de Shields-- blinding in a white suit and shoes. Taunting his brother, de Shields slips and slides across the stage like a fancy flim-flam man goading Willy to be the aggressor, an unleashed animal, and not be oppressed.
A top flight cast muscles Miller's words into a truth bent by an unjust reality. Guaranteed to stay by your side for weeks.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis