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Director Charles Newell’s Approach to All My Sons

All My SonsMy first experience with an Arthur Miller play was as an actor, not a director: I was cast as John Proctor in my high school’s production of The Crucible. Playing the part of Miller’s tragic hero was the first time I ever attempted to become someone else. Even though I proved to be a terrible actor, the experience revealed to me the transcendent and transformative power of drama. After this first brush with Miller, I knew theatre was where I truly belonged.

In bringing All My Sons to life at Court this season, we are building upon what was learned during our three-play Greek cycle—Iphigenia at Aulis, Agamemnon, and Electra—and applying those lessons to Miller’s first masterpiece. In 1947, the playwright called All My Sons his tragedy for “the common man”: Miller hoped his effort to re-imagine and re-purpose the Greek tragic form would speak directly to the lives and psyches of modern Americans. To capture the feeling of Greek tragedy in our design for this production, we will not be seeking to represent a backyard in Middle America, where the action of the play typically unfolds. Rather, we are turning to the American painter Edward Hopper for inspiration. Our aim is to create a setting that feels primordial rather than literal: a space out of time.

In addition to mirroring Court’s Greek cycle, All My Sons is a continuation of Court’s exploration of American classics, and joins the likes of Long Day’s Journey into Night and Harvey of recent seasons. What makes it uniquely Court is the dazzling cast. You may already know the incredible work of Timothy Edward Kane, Kate Collins, and John Judd individually, but just imagine the dynamism that will manifest when they’re on stage together in one cast. We’ve been very successful working with these artists in the past because they leap forward into new acting challenges. We know they will continue to take genuine and fearless risks, and will bring to this work the full power of their creative imaginations.

Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director


All My Sons runs at Court Theatre from January 11 through February 11. Tickets are now available.

Photo: Kate Collins and John Judd (Joe Mazza).

Posted on November 1, 2017 in Productions

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