'The Price,' by Arthur Miller
A project of the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, directed by Mark Kamie.
Bloomington Playwrights Project Theatre
Thursday April 28, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 20, 7:30, and Sunday May 1, 2 p.m.
Tickets: at the door or call (812)334-1188
The Jewish Theatre of Bloomington’s production of Arthur Miller’s play The Price is a skillfully directed, well acted, engrossing drama.
Two brothers, whose father went bankrupt both financially and spiritually in the depression, meet to divide up the family possessions. Victor (Richard Massery) left college and joined his hometown’s police force to stay at home and support the old man. Walter (Mark Goetzinger) refused any but the most token support, going on to finish medical school and become a successful surgeon. Both sons bear the scars of their father. Victor is full of rage; Walter is marked by guilt. The brothers haven’t spoken to one another in sixteen years.
Victor’s wife Esther (Gail Bray) is bitterly disappointed with her life. She has been nursing the hope that someday the brothers might reconcile, making all well. Meanwhile, Victor has arranged for an appraiser, a buyer- the wily ninety year old Gregory Solomon (Jeff Stone) to come and make an offer.
A Precarious Balance
Of the Miller plays with which I’m familiar, The Price is the most complicated. The brothers wrestle passionately with the fragments of their history as Walter tries to bring closure to their struggle. It seems that with every new piece of information the situation’s moral calculus becomes more, not less, precariously balanced. At one point Victor says, with frustration, “I don’t know what I knew.” Exhausted, his wife replies, “It’s a farce.”
Throughout the evening Richard Massery was impressive as the emotionally stunted cop who struggles visibly with his own paralysis. Mark Goetzinger did a terrific job as the brother that the audience is given to hate at first, but for whom they later come to have more sympathy. Gail Bray, who played Victor’s wife, became a sort of emotional weather vane swinging from side to side with each fresh gust of argument and evidence. Jeff Stone, as the appraiser, was delightfully funny and insightful as he pulled at least some of the threads into a semblance of order.
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