Day 1 of Art Everyday: Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
To “support my local arts scene” - one of the 31 tasks for GOOD Magazine’s Art Everyday challenge, I set out for Broadway to see Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman. Philip Seymour Hoffman nailed it as Willy Loman, deftly spanning the range of Willy’s mercurial temperament: charismatic, pathetic, proud, depressed, delusional, optimistic, and so on. Andrew Garfield, the guy who wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg (or those handsome twins) in The Social Network, tried hard to keep up as Willy’s son Biff. He acted well enough, but I could have done with a little less of the hollering-makes-me-intense shtick.
Seeing the play last night makes me want to read it again. My flappable allegiance swung back and forth almost as much as Willy’s moods. And, I hope, more than when I first read the play as a kid, a teenager, that I appreciate what Arthur Miller gave us - who Willy Loman is and not just what he represents. Did I even know what I was reading then? Was it anything other than an academic exercise in conflicts and diction and denouement? Because now I think it could be.