Academic journal article The Arthur Miller Journal

All My Sons

Academic journal article The Arthur Miller Journal

All My Sons

Article excerpt

All My Sons

Audio CD (1998) Directed by Nick Alcott

"It's better without the pictures." This comment was made recently about the joy of listening to radio in comparison to television in the UK. At the outset, I have to say that was the first impression I had on hearing this recording of All My Sons. Some say that this play, similar to The Price, has a slow start, but just concentrating on the audio completely dispels this idea.

There is a balance to be drawn. Having the pleasure of seeing a performance brings the dimensions of body language and physical interplay, yet it can also bring distractions from the text, and make the audience a little lazy. An audio version delivers a deeper admiration for the actor's delivery, allowing the listener to better hear the nuances and change of tone that can be easily overlooked in a stage performance. For example, there are several references to the broken tree in the Keller's back yard, asides that become more significant than the blatant image on the stage. Miller begins his foundations early on with the word "jail" emerging through an apparently innocent game between Joe Keller, voiced by James Farentino, and the neighborhood boy, Bert, voiced by Nathan Taylor. These verbal clues to undercurrents that will emerge from behind the early façade, jarred more clearly in my mind as it was made to focus closely on the play's language.

I also felt that the director, Nick Alcott, was able to create more pace in this version without the physical distraction. I was particularly impressed with the tonal obsession Julie Harris created in Kate's voice, and the firm refusal to conform to the family's delusion about the death of Larry, that Naomi Jacobson conveyed through Ann's. All the time you are hooked on Miller's quickly moving text, its development, and its incremental build up. From the very start, we hear clear hints of Joe's guilt, and realize that Ann will not be happy with the current situation, despite an open declaration of her love for Chris (Arye Gross). …

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