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DEATH OF A SALESMAN Last Night
Posted by: sergius 08:49 pm EDT 09/27/22

DEATH OF A SALESMAN is already enormous. It doesn’t need interpolations to deepen it or make it differently relevant. When this production finds black vernacular speech, its cadence and rhythms, in Miller’s speech—which it does routinely and effortlessly, it’s illuminating. When it embroiders the play with cultural specifiers, it frequently overburdens it. Willy Loman is, as written, any man as much as he’s Miller’s Everyman. The actors here are good enough to make this quite plain. But they’re at the center of a production that pops, whirs and sings, and it’s distracting. And largely unnecessary. What’s surprising is how easily the story adapts itself, how little it needs to be translated to make it more specifically a play about mid century black American experience. The director, abetted by an imprecise stage design and an inexplicable, often neon, lighting scheme, seems unaware that the story she wants to tell is already there. Swamped by superfluous concept, this DEATH OF A SALESMAN is too cooly notional when it should sear.
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