THE MATRIX THEATRE COMPANY - "All My Sons" ()
All My Sons- Characters Kate Keller Relationship Somewhat simple man who amuses the audience with his strong belief in astrology. He blames the neighborhood for his lack of relationships with any of the neighbors Students are required to answer questions for either (B) All My Sons OR (C) The Wave. B. ALL Kate believes that Ann isn't married because she is waiting for Larry to come back from Jim's role in the play is to give support and advice. Get everything you need to know about Ann Deever in All My Sons. Joe suspects Annie has come back not just to marry Chris but to “spy” on the I've only met you, Ann, but if I may offer you a piece of advice—When you marry, . and mother—there seems to have been some trouble in their relationship, and Annie.
Nothing happens that could not happen in reality. However, like the realism of most plays in the Ibsen tradition, the realism of All My Sons is of a selective variety, deliberately controlled to advance a particular thesis. Matters are rather conveniently drawn to a climactic head on a single day with the visit of the two Deever siblings, a coincidence that is nevertheless wholly within the realm of plausibility. The setting suggests comfort and isolation from the community.
Isolation is necessary because the townspeople suspect the truth about Joe, that he did what he had been convicted of doing during the war.
Yet because he is so successful and provides jobs in the community, they do not openly reproach him for it. Destructive forces threaten the setting.
Nature first invades, destroying the apple tree planted in memory of Larry. Thesis All My Sons is a thesis play that focuses on a problem that Arthur Miller believed was eating at the fabric of American democracy: The fact that Chris wants Joe to atone for his crime finally forces him to recognize his guilt. Tragic Flaw Joe lets a love of materialism and fear cloud his moral compass. He sets in motion events that have tragic consequences.
Joe fears failure in business, as if, somehow, failure would threaten the love and respect of his family. Under pressure, that fear leads him to make an ill-considered decision to put the lives of American pilots at risk by disguising cracked cylinder heads and shipping them to assembly plants. Unities In addition to being a realistic play, All My Sons has some characteristics of classical drama, notably an adherence to the so-called dramatic unities of time, place, and action.
First, it basically observes the Aristotelian notion that the action should all occur within a twenty-four-hour time period. The action opens in the morning and ends in the early hours on the morning of the next day. Second, the action all occurs in one locale, the backyard of the Keller home.
Third, although the action is not continuous, within each of the three acts the action is continuous, and the three acts are arranged chronologically, as is the standard practice in most realistic plays. Truman presented the Truman Doctrine to the U.
The Truman Doctrine was an anti-Communist declaration that would shape American foreign policy for over four decades. With the Cold War heating up, fears of an international communist conspiracy were rapidly growing. The Truman Doctrine was meant to alleviate some of those very fears. The now infamous House Un-American Activities Committee HUAC began its very visible investigations of alleged communist influence in Hollywood, resulting in the jailing and blacklisting of witnesses who refused to cooperate with investigators.
In the aftermath of World War II, the industrialized world divided into two armed superpowers: In the West, the threat of communism led to suspicion and paranoia at the highest levels of government. Nuclear war seemed imminent. The threat of a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and United States dissipated with the economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union in the s. Instead, the threat of terrorism reigns as well as the growing nuclear capabilities of rogue states such as Pakistan, India, Iran, and Iraq.
The trials resulted in the imprisonment or execution of many high-ranking Nazis, particularly those involved in the running the concentration camps, which exterminated millions of victims.
Reaction to genocide in several countries has led to a new call for tribunals to indict and condemn war criminals. A notable example of a modern war criminal is Serbian president Slobodan Milosevicwho in was charged with the mass murder of ethnic Albanians and indicted by the World Court.
In the wake of World War II, concerns about wartime profiteering and unethical practices were widespread. In the s such concerns would eventually compel President Dwight D. In light of charges by several Jewish families that Swiss banks cooperated with Nazis during World War II and expropriated gold stolen from war victims, the whole issue of wartime profiteering has once more emerged.
Professional sports, with some rare exceptions boxing, for example were largely segregated. Until that time, African Americans could play only in the segregated Negro League. African Americans successfully compete in professional sports that seemed almost the exclusive domain of white athletes, notably tennis and golf. Meanwhile, King Michael of Romania abdicated, bringing another European country into the Soviet bloc. India and Pakistan were granted independence from Great Britain. In that same year, Mother Teresa left her Loreto order to move into the slums of Calcutta to establish her first school.
In Roswell, New Mexicoin July,there was a rash of UFO sightings and the reported crash of an alien space ship, the basis for what many still consider a lame government cover-up of the truth. Chuck Yeager became the first human to break the sound barrier in October, Breaking a different kind of barrier, Bell Telephone Laboratories introduced the transistor, the first important Postwar breakthrough in the evolution of microelectronics, fundamental in the development of the post-industrial, information-age technology of the late twentieth century.
In hindsight, it may seem that the work lacks the great imaginative force of his next play, Death of Salesmanstill widely regarded as his masterpiece, but in All My Sons Miller certainly showed that he could both use dialogue very well and construct a riveting drama in the tradition of social realism. In most reviews, the quality of the production was recognized and applauded. It was an impressive achievement for a new and virtually unknown playwright.
To some critics, All My Sons also reflected the influence of classical tragedy. Both leftist ideology and the classical influence would keep All My Sons in the limelight until Death of a Salesman replaced it as the cynosure of critical attention. With that play, Miller came as close as any playwright before or since to demonstrate the validity of his assertion that tragedy is possible in a modern, egalitarian democracy.
For that play, as well as The Crucible and View from the Bridge, All My Sons provided a firm foundation in both its theme of guilt and expiation and its tragic elements and structure.
Fiero Fiero is a Ph. Krutch essentially indicts his contemporaries for allowing the tragic light to fade from the universe. For him, a tragic consciousness still existed, even in the most ordinary sort of people. In it he welded features of classical tragedy to the realistic thesis play in the tradition of Ibsen, maintaining a surface verisimilitude while advancing a plot designed in accordance with the logic of causality and plausible human motives.
Academically at least, Sophocles seems to haunt All My Sons. However, both Oedipus and Joe Keller are patriarchs. Both are asked to solve a problem, which, unknowingly or unconsciously, they have themselves created. For some theorists, it is the ultimate critical authority on the nature of tragedy. An important sociological study, The Lonely Crowdby David Reisman, suggests that modern America has lost the capacity for guilt necessary to tragedy.
American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectationsrevised editionby Christopher Lascha more recent look at American culture, examines the changing cultural landscape. Oedipus Rex and All My Sons share a similar pattern and structure, a common tragic rhythm. Furthermore, both Oedipus Rex and All My Sons deal with the transgression of one or more universal taboos and thus have strong moral focus. Oedipus must first discover the truth of what he has done, while Joe must own up to the consequences of what he knows he has done and accept responsibility and guilt.
Both protagonists in some sense lack knowledge, sharing a blindness to truth that is only cured when their ignorance, in a tragic recognition or epiphany, is sloughed off and they finally see clearly for the first time—even as their understanding destroys them. Ironically, their insight is the necessary recompense without which tragedy has no positive meaning and no power to elate rather than simply depress an audience.
Oedipus Rex comes from an age that accepted one premise alien to the modern mind: A raw deal, perhaps, but Oedipus, who learns of his fate from the Oracle at Delphi as a young man, tries to defy the will of the gods by averting his fate.
Not knowing that he is only the foster child of the king and queen of Corinth, he flees that city and, ironically, runs headlong into his fate. His defiance and resulting conviction that he has escaped his fate are evidence of his tragic flaw, his hubris, which, paradoxically, is also the source of his greatness. Although Miller could hardly incorporate such a view of divine justice into All My Sons, he employs a modern parallel of sorts. After leaving Corinth, Oedipus had struggled to regain the princely stature he sacrificed in his attempt to escape his divinely-ordained fate.
By virtue of his strength, he survives a fateful encounter on the road, unwittingly committing parricide, and, through his intelligence, he solves the riddle of the Sphinx, becoming king of Thebes and unwittingly marrying Joscasta, his own mother. As depicted by Sophocles, he repeatedly displays pride in his accomplishments, his rise to the throne of Thebes by merit rather than influence, and displays almost paranoid suspicions towards his uncle and brother-in-law, Creon, who, he believes, is jealous and resents him.
Joe Keller is also a proud man. Through hard work, he has made his way up in the world, from semi-skilled laborer to factory owner and become one of the richest men in town. However, his equanimity and affability dissolve with the arrival of Ann Deever, and then her brother, George. Like Oedipus, Joe suspects the motives of others.
He mistrusts Ann, daughter to a man he left in prison to pay for what was his own crime. The Deevers, ghosts from the past, are a threat to Joe, not just because of what their father might have told them but because they can and do force a familial showdown, something that Joe has assiduously avoided.
Ann and Chris want to marry, but they will not as long as Kate Keller clings to her hope that Larry Keller is still alive.Director's Cut: All My Sons
The Deevers are like the Sophoclean messengers who bear fateful information. Ann even bears a letter from Larry, in which, shamed by his father, Larry confides that he is setting out on a suicidal mission. Only when Kate inadvertently lets slip the fact that Joe was not sick on the fateful day does George begin to confront Joe again. The influence of classical tragedy on All My Sons also resonates in other ways.
For example, the idea of destiny or fate is introduced by Frank Lubey, the amateur and inept astrologer.
All My Sons- Characters by Goh Mok Cheong on Prezi
He tries to convince Kate that there is hope that Larry is still alive because the day he was lost in action was, according to his horoscope, a propitious and fortunate day for him. There is also the virtual observance of the unities of time, place, and, to a degree, action, and a set that suggests the standard skene of Greek tragedy. To Boggs, for example, All My Sons lacks the precision and simple and direct focus of Oedipus Rex and, therefore, fails.
Although in All My Sons he may not have succeeded according to critics, he at least succeeded in raising expectations. In fact, many commentators came to believe that the playwright was just one work shy of a masterpiece, which, two years later, graced the American theater in the guise of Death of a Salesman.
Fiero, for Drama for Students, Gale, Such classification—a valid one if severely qualified—is suggested both by the timeliness of the story and by the presence of considerable overt social criticism. The story itself is obviously calculated to engage the so-called social conscience. Stated in the simplest terms, the play dramatizes the process by which Joe Keller, a small manufacturer, is forced to accept individual social responsibility and, consequently, to accept his personal guilt for having sold, on one occasion during World War II, fatally defective airplane parts to the government.
However, while this bare-bone synopsis is essentially accurate, it does, in fact, do violence to the actual complexity of the play. From neither of these views can tragedy derive, simply because neither represents a balanced concept of life. The sociological view is particularly limiting in that it carries with it the temptation to approach the dramatic action from the level of broad socio-cultural generalizations and, consequently, to oversimplify character and action and, stumbling among subtleties of characterization, to accuse the playwright of a confusion of values which belongs appropriately to the characters in their situations.
Nowhere is it suggested that the social realities and attitudes that are brought within the critical focus of the play can be honestly considered outside of some such context of human aspirations and weaknesses as is provided by the play; and nowhere is it suggested that the characters are or can be judged strictly on the basis of some simple social ethic or ideal that might be deduced from the action.
The characters do not simply reflect the values and attitudes of a particular society; they use those values and attitudes in their attempt to realize themselves. And it is these characteristics that give All My Sons, and other Miller plays, a density of texture so much greater than that of the typical social thesis play, which seeks not only to direct but to facilitate ethical judgments upon matters of topical importance.
For most of us there is no difficulty in assenting to the abstract proposition which Chris puts to his mother at the end of the play: You can be better! And there is no problem either in giving general intellectual assent to the morality of brotherhood for which Chris speaks. There is, however, considerable difficulty in assenting to the actual situation at the end of the play, in accepting it as a simple triumph of right over wrong.
For the play in its entirety makes clear that Joe Keller has committed his crimes not out of cowardice, callousness, or pure self-interest, but out of a too-exclusive regard for real though limited values, and that Chris, the idealist, is far from acting disinterestedly as he harrows his father to repentance.
For such a man as Joe Keller such a conflict could scarcely exist and, given its existence, could have only one probable resolution.
When the worst imaginable consequence follows—twenty-two pilots killed in Australia—Keller is nonetheless able to presume upon his innocence as established before the law. For in his ethical insularity—an insularity stressed in the play by the hedged-in backyard setting—he is safe from any serious assault of conscience so long as he can believe that the family is the most important thing and that what is done in the name of the family has its own justification.
Yet, he is not perfectly secure within his sanctuary. His apparently thick skin has its sensitive spots: His appeal on behalf of Herb Deever Act I is in fact, partly a covert appeal on his own behalf, an appeal for merciful understanding called forth by the shocked realization that some considerations may override and even destroy the ties of family upon which his own security rests.
It is Chris Keller who, in reaching out for love and a life of his own, first undermines and then destroys this security altogether. Chris has brought out of the war an idealistic morality of brotherhood based on what he has seen of mutual self-sacrifice among the men whom he commanded. But he has not survived the war unwounded; he bears a still festering psychological wound, a sense of inadequacy and guilt.
He has survived to enjoy the fruits of a wartime economy, and he fears that in enjoying them he becomes unworthy, condemned by his own idealism. Even his love for Ann Deever, the sweetheart of his dead brother, has seemed to him a guilty desire to take advantage of the dead to whom he somehow owes his life. As the play opens, however, he has decided to assert himself, to claim the things in life and the position in life which he feels should rightfully be his, and as the initial step he has invited Ann to his family home.
What is revealed here is that Kate is fundamentally like her husband; only what is personal or immediate is real for her. But if Larry is dead, then the war is real, and Joe is guilty of murder, even, by an act of association, guilty of murdering his own son.
It is Larry living not Larry dead that she clings to, and she does this because to admit his death would make both life and love more difficult. The action is clearly symbolic; Chris, because of his own needs, has determined to free the family of the shadow of self-deception and guilt cast over it by the memory of Larry, to let in the light of truth.
Yet, when the light comes, he is less able to bear it than the others. Ann, in the hope of love and marriage, rejects the seeds of hatred and remorse which her brother, George, offers her, and Kate sacrifices the dead son to the living father. But Chris has too much at stake; his life must vindicate the deaths of those who died in the war, which means that he must maintain an ideal image of himself or else be overwhelmed by his own sense of guilt.
It becomes clear in the exchange between Chris and George Deever Act II that Chris has suspected his father but has suppressed his suspicions because he could not face the consequences—the condemnation of the father, whom he loves, and the condemnation of himself as polluted by sharing in the illicit spoils of war.
The father becomes, indeed, a kind of scapegoat for the son; that is, if Joe expiates his crimes through the acceptance of a just punishment, then Chris will be relieved of his own burden of paralyzing guilt.
All My Sons
His love of his father and his complicity with his father will then no longer imply his own unworthiness. In insisting that Joe must go to prison, Chris is, in effect, asking Joe to give him back his self-respect, so that he may be free to marry Ann and assume the life which is rightfully his.
Because it forces upon the reader an awareness of the intricacies of human motivation and of human relationships, All My Sons leaves a dual impression: Did they ship a gun or a truck outa Detroit before they got their price? The article was either very sly or very stupid. It was very sly insofar as it is unarguable that most plays the premise and sentiment of which we do not accept cannot please us.
All plays are about something, whether or not they have an explicit thesis. Peter Pan is as much about something as Candida. Cyrano de Bergerac is as clear an expression of something as Bury the Dead. Joan is as definitely a preachment as any play ever presented on Fourteenth Street by the old Theatre Union. Many reviewers are signally inept in the performance of this simple duty.
An artist generally finds it convenient to use the material he finds closest at hand. What he says with his material always reveals something personal and distinct that cannot be described comprehensively merely by stating the materials he has employed. One play about a strike may convey some intimate frustration, another may be a lyric outburst of youthful aspiration.
In the Simonov comedy The Whole World Over, which I directed, the subjects of the housing shortage and the rehabilitation of the veteran are brought into play, but they are not at all the essence of the matter.
This comedy is essentially an image of faith and joy in everyday living, told in the folk tradition of those gay and sentimental songs which establish the continuity between what is universal in the spirit of the old and the new Russia. The central character of All My Sons is a small businessman who during the war sent out defective airplane parts which he hoped would not be used in actual combat but which he would not recall for fear his army contracts would be canceled and his business and his family ruined as a result.
The Kellers and Deevers are Caucasian. Morris, Murtadha, Park, and Liao are not. To be sure, race-appropriate casting makes perfect historical sense in a period piece like All My Sons. I prefer simply to consider the Matrix Theatre ensemble an inspired example of colorblind casting, taking one of the truly great plays of the 20th Century and affording a rainbow spectrum of actors the rare opportunity to portray some of the richest roles ever written for the American stage.
I speak from experience, having seen six previous productions. At curtain up, prosperous factory owner Joe Keller Morrishis wife Kate Anne Gee Byrdand their adult son Chris Murtadha are welcoming a visit from grown up next door neighbor Ann Deever Parkback in town for the first time since moving to New York several years earlier.
Though Kate steadfastly refuses to believe that Larry is dead, Ann apparently feels quite differently about the matter. Friendship has turned to long distance love, and Chris is planning to propose to Ann. Joe had initially been found guilty as well, however his insistence that he was home sick in bed the day the order got shipped out, corroborated by Kate, soon relieved him of any responsibility for the plane crashes, and he was subsequently released from prison.
All My Sons works brilliantly on many levels—as a story of family, as a love story, as a mystery, and as a discussion starter. Does war bring out the worst in people, or their best?
Can a person go on living without self respect or the respect of others? As its secrets are revealed, All My Sons becomes steadily more engrossing. Morris brings a quarter century of much lauded work he won L. Byrd proves once again as Kate why nearly every one of her performancea is welcomed with award nominations galore.
Murtadha is an absolutely wonderful Chris, making us believe in his idealism, his passion, and his ultimate disillusionment. An impressive Park makes Ann everything an Ann Deever should be, tough, determined, and passionately in love.
Supporting the above quartet is the splendid work of Taylor Nichols as good-natured neighbor Jim Bayless; Armand Vasquez, an earnest, understated Frank Lubey; Maritxell Carrero, perky perfection as Lydia Lubey, and Taylor Scofield, a charmer as wide-eyed neighbor boy Bert.
I have none whatsoever about the performances on the Matrix stage. Finally, there is the truly stellar work of Liao as George and Anita Barone as neighbor Sue Bayliss, performances which make it crystal clear why these are two of the absolute best supporting roles in the Arthur Miller oeuvre. Like Liao, Barone makes the absolute most of her every Sue moment, earning laughs where others may have played it too dark, giving the character an outward sunniness that makes her digs all the more piercing.
A phenomenal design team makes this All My Sons look and sound absolutely terrific. Marcy Froehlich has costumed the cast to late s perfection, and propmaster Chuck Olsen deserves kudos as well. Brian Gale lights this all with consummate artistry and some stunning fadeouts. My advice to all lovers of great L. Lay all reservations aside and let the performances of this magnificent cast give you an All My Sons like never before.
Had he been less hasty, he would have experienced a drama far beyond his reckoning, a shattering production of Miller's masterpiece, updated tonot in its text or its subtext, but in producer Joseph Stern's non-traditional, multi-ethnic casting. Stern has been infiltrating the present and, one can only hope, the future with plays that reflect the increasingly multi-ethnic casting of our daily lives in American and in many other parts of our 21st Century world.
For 30 years, Stern has successfully produced classical theatre, building a widely admired body of work that brought the best of theatre to an appreciative audience, but with hardly a nod to a second or third world that had only just begun to be intellectually or artistically explored after WWII.
InLydia Diamond's "Stick Fly," focused on an upper-middle class African American family, won all the gold for its production, followed by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' "Neighbors," a starkly dark study of racism in America, directed by Nataki Garrett, which recently opened in Minneapolis with Garrett admirably attached as director.
In casting "All My Sons," the aim was for a multi-racial cast which, after the audience's initial exchange of questioning sideways glances, takes off like a rocket headed for the moon, or at least the stars. Yes, the time is post-WWII, and the location is small-town America, but the cast is multi-ethnic, for no reason other than each actor is a perfect fit for his or her role.
Alex Morris, an African American, sturdily inhabits the solid Joe Keller, the above-average "Joe" who clawed his way up to management in The Depression and is happily enjoying the life of Riley in a fine house in a middle class family neighborhood, with his haunted, Caucasian wife, Kate, an always phenomenal Anne Gee Byrd, and his youngest son, Chris, a very credible, and personable bi-racial A.
James Hiroyuki Liao, also Asian, is Ann's brother, George, who has sturdy incentive to take his sister home, away from the Keller household. Honors to director Cameron Watson, who has given new, exciting life to a classic, still devastating play, and to Joseph Stern who never fails to win hearts and minds with his insistence on quality theatre. Like many of us, I've seen many timesread, and even played in "All My Sons" in my speckled career, but never have I been so moved as I was last Saturday by Miller's gerat play.
I remained, transfixed, in my seat during intermission, and, woe is me, was stumbling and practically blinded by wrenching tears at the final curtain. John Iacovelli's lovely mid-west backyard design, with lighting by Brian Gale and sound design by Steven Cahill, lends a comfortable, homey presence to the sometimes stressed, more complex than they seem, Keller household.
He nearly lost everything though when at the height of the war his company was accused of knowingly shipping damaged cylinder heads that resulted in the deaths of 21 army flyers.
He and his partner Steve Deever are both arrested. Blame for their shipping falls on Deever alone. Joe is released while his former partner is tried and imprisoned. Joe and his wife Kate Anne Gee Byrd watched as their two sons go off to serve their country. His younger brother Chris A. Murtadha sees combat in Europe.
The war has ended and Chris returned to work beside his father in the family business. His plane vanished over the China Sea in Neither she nor her brother George James Hiroyuki Liao have had contact with him since.
His mother-in-law had shown him an article about a daughter, who discovering her manufacturer father sold defective equipment to the US military during the war, had reported him to the government.
Miller stayed with playwriting. The first and greatest hurdle to any director is casting. Any time I see a show that is well cast across the board I know it means one of two things. Either the director has a keen eye for talent and deep respect for those who endure eight weeks of labor pains to end in a delivery spread over six weeks with matinees on Sunday; or the director got damn lucky; with this cast I suspect both.
Morris, Byrd and Murtadha infuse their performances with those nuances of agony the intimacy of families engenders. And that oughta put some Klingons in the audience.