October 08, 2012
Two years of longing have passed since Soulpepper premiered Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Their 2010 production was sold-out before I had a chance to get tickets. Luckily, Soulpepper revived this ever-popular American tragedy for the current 2012 season. Lightening does strike twice.
Set in post-war Brooklyn, the play follows a deteriorating travelling salesman and those closest to him. Miller’s Pulizer–winning drama quickly tailspins into entropy, exploring the American Dream and personal fallacies. The lead characters, Willy Loman and Biff Loman, stopped short of eliciting pathos—and what’s tragedy without pathos? Linda Loman and Happy Loman, on the other hand, were the soul of the play. It was during intimate and quiet moments that the production was most sincere, layered and heartfelt.
The stage sets were evocative. The “broken home” design functioned for both domestic space and outdoor places. A stage trap-door functioned as both basement cellar and Willy’s final resting place (sorry for the plot spoiler). Who knows–maybe Willy Loman will be resurrected on the Soulpepper stage in another couple of years?