All My Sons

Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” at the Waldron is a fine thoughtful play with some magnificent acting. “All My Sons” is the story of a man who came back from World War II looking for a better world and how he reacted to what they found. It’s also the story of the dirtiest realities of that world. And, it’s also about love and hope and reconciliation.

In the Keller family, two sons; Chris, played by Brent Burcroff , and Larry went to the war. Larry was engaged to marry Anne Deever, played by Stephanie Harrison. Anne is the daughter of Chris and Larry’s dad, Joe Keller’ partner Stephen Deever. Only Chris came back. It’s been three and a half years and Larry is still missing. But their mother, Kate Keller played by Marcia Dangerfield can’t believe that Larry is dead.

During the war, the Keller family business grew on war contracts. Manufacturing in those years was a high-pressure enterprise and corners were cut. Some shoddy engine parts killed twenty-one pilots. Stephen got most of the blame and is still in jail, but Joe also did time.

Chris and Anne need to convince Kate Keller that Larry is dead so that they can get married. Anne’s brother George, played by Mike Price, is digging into the details of just what happened at the Keller plant. Later Chris has to probe them for himself.

The Detour Production does a superb job of unwinding the mystery of “All My Sons.” Richard Perez’s direction is so thoughtfully planned and realized that it is totally transparent. Things hold up well even in the final act when Arthur Miller spends a little too much time hammering his theme of family having to include the world. Mark McIntyre does a wonderful job of making Joe Keller the most winning of characters, but doesn’t shirk on showing the important bit of his dark self-delusion. Kate Keller is a great character. Despite her delusion, she’s a woman of immense and powerful maternal love. In one of the play’s great scenes, a very determined George arrives to confront Joe. Kate simply wraps him in her love. Mike Price, as the hesitant George, made this a tour de force. Marcia Dangerfield was awesome.

Sunday afternoon at the John Waldron Arts Center the heat was off. Outside the temperature was in the teens and inside it wasn’t much warmer. The cast wanted to play Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and nine or ten of us wanted to see it. The cast was dressed for a warm fall day in light clothing. The audience looked equipped for Polar Regions with coats, hats and gloves. “All My Sons” was just great. At the end all nine of us in the audience gave the ten-member cast a standing ovation thanking them for a wonderful afternoon of theatre and the cast gave us a standing ovation for sitting it out.

Parts for the heating system are on order and things should be comfortably warm for the remainder of the production.

Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” plays Friday and Saturday nights at eight and Sunday at two through February first.

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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