SOULPEPPER’S REVIVAL OF ARTHUR MILLER’S CLASSIC LEAVES NOTHING TO BE DESIRED
Story by Megan Leahy
Photos by Cylla von Tiedemann
The best way to describe the revival of Soulpepper’s Death of a Salesman is also the laziest: not a dry eye in the house. It ended with audience members standing in ovation before the lights came up and the cast visibly checking back into reality from the exasperating final scenes, recovering themselves to relish the tribute. In the words of actor Nancy Palk, “I honestly believe it would take a stony stony heart not to be moved by this play.”
Arthur Miller completed Salesman in 1948, over the course of just six-weeks based on a short story he wrote when he was seventeen. The plot revolves around Willy Loman, a travelling salesman who has put all of his eggs in one basket: the ‘American Dream’ that good, hard-work will pay off in his golden years. When success never comes, his competitiveness and pride prevent him from acknowledging defeat and he is driven into delusion, culminating in one tragic gesture.
Two years ago, Director Albert Schultz’ production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play was met with universal praise. To everyone’s delight much of the original cast has returned for the second run, with Joseph Ziegler’s Dora Award winning interpretation of Willy Loman, and acclaimed performances by Nancy Palk, as Willy’s wife Linda, and Ari Cohen as his son Biff.
Arguably giving the most affable performance was given by Mike Ross who joined the cast seamlessly in the role of Happy Loman, Willy’s youngest son. Raquel Duffy as always brings her infectious laugh playing a woman with whom Willy had an affair. Other noteworthy performances from Michael Hanrahan, as Willy’s neighbour Charley, Gregory Prest as Charley’s son Bernard and of course William Webster as Uncle Ben.
A thoroughly heart wrenching play, somehow you’ll still leave feeling elated, wet-eyed but smiling and awe struck at the quality of acting. From set design to stage direction an all-around flawless production, proving Soulpepper to be leading the way in the Toronto’s (perhaps Canada’s?) theatre companies.
Death of a Salesman runs until October 6th at 50 Tank House Lane in the Distillery District. Soulpepper offers rush tickets for those 21 and under for $5. Youth Rush Tickets can be purchased at the box office 30 minutes before all performances. Regular student prices are $32.