This play has it all – powerful acting, taut story line, deft direction, exquisite set design, even top-notch sound. It’s such a compelling production that you don’t want to leave your seat at the end.
The themes of Arthur Miller’s 1947 drama All My Sons, which opened last night at the Huntington Theatre, are as relevant today as they were more than 60 years ago: delusion, denial, accountability, career building versus truth, family relationships. It’s Miller channelling Ibsen channeling Greek tragedies.
How many of us “of a certain age” remember our parents decrying so-called pillars of the community who earned their status from war profiteering? Makes you think about the back stories of the unarmored vehicles in Iraq and other tales we have yet to hear.
All My Sons is about a family in a typical middle American community, coming to grips with the fact that the father, the tragically flawed protagonist ably played by Will Lyman, grew his factory selling airplane cylinder heads to the military. When cracks appeared in some of the parts, he directed his then partner to patch them and ship them anyway. Twenty-one pilots died. The partner went to prison; the father got off.
Meanwhile, his son Chris, for whom the father claims to have built the business, wants to marry the partner’s daughter, who had been his brother’s sweetheart. (Chris, played stirringly by Lee Aaron Rosen, is the moral center of the play.)The brother went missing in the war and is presumed dead by everyone but the mother, movingly played by Karen MacDonald.
All My Sons is all about the lies we tell others and ourselves in order to survive and how ultimately the truth must be reckoned with.
The audience is involved every minute as the story unfolds. The emotions pack a punch. This is one of the best Huntington productions in a long time. See Sam Allis’ interview with director David Esbjornson on January 8th. This production is a much better one than the play’s 2008 revival on Broadway. Don’t miss it!