“After the Fall”
by Arthur Miller
from “The Arthur Miller Collection”
published by L.A. Theatre Works
performed by: Amy Brenneman, Anthony LaPaglia, Amy Pietz, Amy Aquino, Gregory Itzin, Claudette Nevins, Natalija Nogulich, Al Ruscio, Raphael Sbarge and Kenny Williams.
2 hours and 4 minutes.
Continuing my listening through “The Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre Works with this one being the sixth of ten plays. “After the Fall” is one of Miller’s least famous plays but one that is extremely autobiographical. The play takes place inside the tortured mind of a 40-year-old lawyer. Quentin is haunted by his disastrous affair with a needy sex symbol, a character rumored to be based on Marilyn Monroe, Miller’s second wife.
The part of Quentin is played by Anthony LaPaglia, and his voicework for this performance is perfect. He portrays the tortured soul of Quentin who struggles with his problems with women which may have started with his mother. When Quentin was a child the family had the nanny take him out for a walk and when he returned the house was empty. When the family returned back from vacation his mother explained he was too young and she needed a break. Seems like this would psychically damage any kid.
The part of Maggie, the sex symbol, which could be based on Marilyn Monroe, is performed by Amy Brenneman. I remember Amy portraying a tough cop on the TV series “NYPD Blue,” but in this play she plays, well, Marilyn Monroe. Her voicework is superb, in that she sounds exactly like a squeaky voiced blonde. I had a hard time seeing that tough cop in this performance.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the is performance was the surrealism of the whole story. The play takes place in the head of Quentin, and the scenes all portray various memories of his failed relationships and trying to take care of Maggie as she becomes more and more famous. Through this process the story is told non-linearly, in other words it is told through a series of memories not in their actual order of occurrence. I’ve always loved stories told in this manner and as this performance progressed I was sucked into the story by making me have to tie in all the events.
The echo effects on the voices of memories as they come into focus is a production aspect that makes this performance work perfectly in an audio format.
With great production and perfect vocal performances this release from L.A. Theatre Works delivers a superb Arthur Miller play that, while it may not be as famous as “Death of a Salesman,” should be on the list of any theatre fan.