Miller play counts cost of American dream

April 15, 1999|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Anyone who enjoys American drama should get to Anne Arundel Community College during the next two weekends for the Moonlight Troupers presentation of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons."

The play's message, that we need more than the financial well-being embodied in the American dream, must have seemed revolutionary in 1947 and remains relevant.

Miller has become one of our most admired American playwrights, but here in his award-winning "All My Sons," we see the work of a young playwright filled with idealism, innovation and a unique vision.

The play's characters are complex and have tangled connections to each other.

"All My Sons" is the story of a successful businessman, Joe Keller, who has given his family the American dream at great cost to himself. Co-owner of an airplane parts plant, Keller unwittingly caused 21 American pilots to die in 1943 as a result of defective parts he sold and shipped. After the tragedy, a trial court finds Keller not guilty but sends his innocent partner, Steve Deever, to prison.

Keller justifies what he has done through the material wealth he has provided his family, though he might have been responsible for the death of his son, a fighter pilot. Joe Keller is both a paragon of family loyalty and his son's betrayer. Keller's wife Kate cannot accept her son Larry's death, even after he has been listed as missing in action for three years.

The plot is developed through the interactions of believable, likable characters. Keller's son Chris, an idealistic Army veteran, is in love with his dead brother's fiance, Ann, who is Deever's daughter. They face some painful truths that lead them and their families to relive their war experiences.

Associate Professor Barbara Marder directs the Moonlight Troupers production. Mike Smith of Annapolis plays Joe Keller, and Anita Gutschick of Arnold plays Kate. Robert Reichert and Andrea Jones, both of Pasadena, play Chris Keller and Ann Deever.

The cast also features Jason Vellon of Crofton as Ann's brother George Deever, Mike Nichols of Baltimore and Karen Eske of Pasadena as the Kellers' neighbors Jim and Sue Bayliss, and Matthew Wetzel of Linthicum as the neighbor boy Bert.

Performances are Friday through Sunday and April 23-25 at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Pascal Center for the Performing Arts on the Arnold campus.

Tickets are $8 general admission, $7 for senior citizens and groups, and $6 for AACC students and employees. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For reservations, call 410-541-2457.

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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