Death of a Salesman
Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem
In the spring of 1948 Arthur Miller retreated to a log cabin in Connecticut with the first two lines of a new play already fixed in his mind. He emerged six weeks later with the final script of Death of a Salesman - a painful examination of American life and consumerism. Opening on Broadway the following year, Miller's extraordinary masterpiece changed the course of modern theatre. In creating Willy Loman, his destructively insecure anti-hero, Miller himself defined his aim as being 'to set forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life.'
This L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production of Miller's classic play about the crashing of the American Dream is an especially poignant listen during the current financial crisis. As the Loman family's aspirations come crashing down, patriarch Willy battles his ego and his slow decline into old age, while his two boys continue to fail as men. But with money dwindling, they must make one last attempt to find financial stability. Stacy Keach offers up an admirable rendition of Willy, for whom listeners will easily feel empathy as he swings from mood to mood. Keach's emotional range and energy dominates what is already an impressive production in terms of acting, sound effects, and sound clarity. Jane Kaczmarek provides a winning performance as Linda Loman, battling against the dominating and condescending males within the family. This audio drama proves so enjoyable that a second listening will definitely be necessary.