Death of a Salesman, one of the most iconic plays of the 20th century, is now showing in Melbourne for a limited season. This masterpiece by Arthur Miller explores the American Dream and its consequences, providing insights into the human psyche and portraying our vulnerability, hope and despair. Anthony LaPaglia, an Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winner, is taking on the lead role of Willy Loman. This Pulitzer Prize-winning story is playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre from now until October 15.
Death Of A Salesman
Explore the frustrating pursuit of success and the post-war American Dream in this moving tale. This profound narrative, which first premiered in 1949, still resonates today.
“With America in free fall – a population armed and divided by anger, the catastrophe of Trump, a century of politicians bowing to Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Wall Street and the gun lobby – there has never been a better time to consider Arthur Miller’s seminal classic Death of a Salesman,” said director Neil Armfield.
“Miller looks at little people trying to be big, crippled by lies they’ve been fed and they’ve told themselves just to get by. This is one of the great family tragedies of all time.”
Anthony LaPaglia takes on the tragic role of the salesman, Willy Loman, 25 years after winning a Tony Award for his portrayal of Eddie Carbone in A View from the Bridge. This performance marks a return for LaPaglia to the world of Arthur Miller, and his stage debut in his home country.
LaPaglia absolutely commands the stage, portraying the complexities of the character with ease. Follow his devastating spiral into madness, as he grapples with the unforgiving capitalist system of his present life, and finds solace with memories of better days with his sons.
Josh Helman shines as his lost son, Biff. He shifts easily between an optimistic teenager and a troubled 34-year-old who can’t live up to his father’s expectations. Meanwhile, Sean Keenan is fun to watch as the womanising younger son, Happy. Rounding out the family unit is Alison Whyte as Linda Loman. Her monologues are fierce as she disparages her sons, and her sharp performance throughout the show is captivating.
Supporting cast members, like Steve Bastoni as Charley, Tom Stokes as Bernard and Richard Piper as Ben, all do a superb job of bringing the story to life. They stay on stage throughout the entire performance, lingering as ghostly memories, and watching coldly as the story unfolds.
The set is stripped back, grounding the show to the bleachers of Ebbets Field. This serves as the backdrop for one of Willy Loman’s most comforting memories – the day of young Biff’s championship football game and the promise of a greater future.
As we deal with a cost of living crisis, this gripping masterpiece by Arthur Miller still holds weight today. Watch this Melbourne-exclusive show before it goes on October 15.