Shattered Globe Theatre at Victory Gardens Greenhouse. By Arthur Miller. Dir. Todd Schmidt. With Doug McDade, Don Blair, Linda Reiter, Maury Cooper.
There’s the price that appraiser Solomon gives aging cop Victor for his late parents’ possessions. And there’s the price that Victor, his bitter wife, Esther, and his long-estranged surgeon brother, Walter, realize they’ve paid for their life choices. Though lacking the precision of Miller’s best works, Price engrossingly illustrates his panoramic worldview, the bigness he saw in the smallest life, while his ear for the poetic cadences of common speech fosters some fervent dialogue. As Victor sees it, he took care of their father, while Walter took care of himself. But for Walter, Victor has suffered under an illusion of himself as martyr, Walter as persecutor. Locally, Miller’s drama ripples with the repercussions of the Depression. Universally, he looks piercingly at actions’ lifelong consequences, and the inevitable and inevitably unreasonable price that follows.
In designer Kevin Hagan’s clapboard attic (so detailed you half-expect to sneeze from the dust), director Schmidt deftly unfolds these brothers’ resentments, so near the surface that it takes just the slightest pricking for the bad blood to come coursing. As the brothers, McDade and Blair hit their stride once the drama heightens, and Reiter makes Miller’s potentially harpy-wife role entirely sympathetic.
But it’s Cooper who’s effortlessly commanding in the pivotal role of Solomon, a physical reminder of the ghostly patriarch haunting these middle-aged brothers. At 89, Solomon gets joy from his latest, unexpected deal, a counterpoint to Victor and Walter’s seeming finality—Miller’s hopeful suggestion that, even at the latest date, serendipity is possible.—Novid Parsi