Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Biff Loman, left, played by Josh Henry and his brother Happy Loman, played by Joshua David Simpson in the "Death of a Salesman" at the New Dawn Theater Company Monday in Duluth. Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. It was the recipient of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.
DULUTH -- Playwright Arthur Miller's work "Death of a Salesman" was originally released in 1949 at New York City's Morosco Theatre. In that year, the play won New York Drama Critics' Circle Best Play, Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. Now the renowned theater piece is being performed in Duluth's New Dawn Theater every weekend until the end of October.
If you go
• What: “Death of a Salesman”
• When: Tonight through Sunday, Oct. 21-23, 27-30
• Where: New Dawn Theater, 3087 Main St., Duluth
• For more information: Visit www.newdawntheate...>
The story is about a failing salesman, Willy Loman, who has been working for years for unobtainable dreams and begins to lose a grip on reality.
"It's a challenging show primarily because there is the real time, the memory and the delusion," Director Joanie McElroy said. "I was trying to clarify real time from the past and what's happening in Willy's mind."
Many theaters admire the play, but realize that it is extremely difficult to accurately portray what Willy is thinking in his three states of mind.
"It is emotionally draining ... it's a roller coaster," Mike Carroll said, describing his role as Willy Loman. "He's a guy that isn't grounded in reality at all. He's hopelessly mired in this dreams in the past and his regrets -- a lot of regrets. It's a great challenge."
The character of Willy creates strains on all of the other characters in the play, especially his wife Linda (played by Diane Dicker) and his two sons, Biff (Josh Henry) and Happy (Joshua Davis Simpson). All of the tension and stress begins to tear the family apart, which adds more frustration in Willy's mind.
Linda is a dedicated wife who stays at home to raise the children while Willy is on the road every week. She doesn't know her true husband from all of the hot air he talks, but she doesn't question and stands by her man.
"Obviously there are generational time frame differences that I think were challenging, to make it believable for the audience and some will remember that time frame, some will not," Dicker said. "That being said, I think that Linda the character really struck a cord with me. There was something about her that I felt able to step into her shoes."
For two-and-a-half hours, the audience will watch the demise of Willy and his ultimate fate.
"The final song right after Willy ends his life is Aaron Copland's 'Fanfare for the Common Man,'" McElroy said. "I picked that one for that particular moment because I think that there is a part of Willy's dream that we all relate to. We all want to achieve that level of success and be able to hold on to something that we can call our own and hopefully pass something on to our kids."
Tonight is opening night. Tickets are $10 to $15.