David Selvas (Àngels a Amèrica, Hedda Gabler) dirigeix un text d'Arthur Miller inspirat en Henrik Ibsen sobre què passa quan toca assumir les responsabilitats morals i legals dels altres.
Arriba a escena el segon text teatral d'Arthur Miller, l’èxit del qual el va decantar definitivament per l'escriptura dramàtica. La història, basada en fets reals, de Joe Keller i Steve Deever, els socis d’una fàbrica de peces d'avions que, durant la guerra, ha servit peces defectuoses i ha provocat moltes morts. Deever ho paga amb la presó i Keller queda lliure i acaba enriquint-se. Passats els anys, els fills respectius i ells mateixos pateixen les conseqüències d’aquella catàstrofe immersos en una estructura de poder gairebé insuportable. Una història inspirada en l’Ànec salvatge de Henrik Ibsen sobre l’assumpció personal de la responsabilitat moral i legal dels altres.
This super production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons places the classic of postwar American theatre back on the table. Directed by David Selvas, the play, about moral values deadened by commercial ideals, is unwaveringly aimed at an adult modern audience.
Set in August in 1946, it is exactly a year after two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, ending the war by killing hundreds of thousands. Infamously, the weapons had flippant, racist names: ’Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’ suggest a son-father dynamic toxically present in Miller’s play.
In the Lliure production, the audience is seated on four sides of a giant shipping container with the sounds of a storm whipped up inside. The container lifts onto a cosy private garden: the whiff of real grass, well-trodden familiar ground, is soon overpowered by the stench of stage cigarettes, blithely lit, one after the other.
There has been gentle editing and updating of this play, translated by Cristina Genebat, bringing it balance, nuance and contemporary resonance. It hinges on a crucial performance by Jordi Bosch as the calculatingly-civilised Joe Keller: this amiable businessman and father has cultivated literary airs, a cheeky hint perhaps at Miller himself. Joe has an eye for the young ladies that is both charming and undeniably creepy. Around his magnetic success, family and neighbours spin like electrons around a nucleus.
The notable absence in the play is eldest son Larry, much used by the living for their own purposes. Larry died in the war under mysterious circumstances, and is represented by a broken apple tree wedged into the earth, impossible to uproot. Larry’s death allows his jumpy younger brother Chris (Eduardo Lloveras) to inherit the wealth of the family business, but also the weight of his father’s expectations. Mother Kate (Emma Vilarasau) is in denial about Larry’s return, though while Miller’s women are less interesting, the truth at least is more complex. Clownish neighbour Frank (Francesc Marginet) feeds her grief by drawing up an astrological chart that ‘proves’ Larry is alive; he, like Dr Bayliss (Eduard Buch), are key to enabling and reinforcing the Keller’s self-satisfied yet dangerous denial.
A spanner in the works arrives in the form of Annie (Clàudia Benito), Larry’s sparkling ex-girlfriend who now has Chris in her sights. With Larry’s rather odd last letter tucked into her bra for ‘emergencies’, Annie’s motivations are too, just a little off.
Tots Eren Fills Meus is a long play and requires pacing, with too much high drama too early on. Yet the action is generously-distributed between all characters. Smaller roles, vital to the play, are resolutely performed: little Bert (Ricard Buján / Ramon Mir) sets the spirit of a game that never grows up; George (Quim Àvila) struggles not to be sucked in to the lure of the ‘party’; and the flash-of-lightning role of neighbour Sue (Gemma Martínez) is stupendous as the bitchy bringer of a killer truth.
Fun facts: All My Sons was the huge Broadway hit that Miller desired (he threatened to give up playwriting otherwise) and his subsequent play Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer Prize. Yet the postwar period was intensely bigoted, even though there was no internet. Miller was of Jewish-German descent and his early novel Focus (1945) dealt with issues of racism, particularly antisemitism. In the 1950s, he would be hauled up before McCarthy in an anti-communist witch hunt. He would also marry (1956) and divorce (1962) Marilyn Monroe, who he allegedly treated with total contempt.