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  • gilwilson 9:44 PM on July 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amy Pietz, , , , , , , , Brian Cox, , , Jenny O’Hara, Kirsten Potter, , , , Saidah Arrika Ekulona,   

    “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan” by Arthur Miller 

    “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection”
    published by L.A. Theatre Works
    Performed by: Brian Cox, Jenny O’Hara, Amy Pietz, Kirsten Potter, Gregory Itzin and Saidah Arrika Ekulona
    Approx 2 hours

    Once again it’s time to listen to another play from “The Arthur Miller” collection from L.A. Theatre Works. I’ve been listening to this collection interspersed with all my other audiobook listening so I can stretch it out. There are ten plays in this collection and this is next to the last, I’m gonna miss having these two hours between books.

    What I like most about these audio recordings is that with the superb production quality, I feel as though I’m right in the middle of the performance, and with the great casting, the actors really bring these plays to life.

    Most of Arthur Miller’s plays are tragedies, but this one is kinda hard to categorize. The tragedy of this play takes place at the beginning and how the main character tries to weasel out of this tragedy almost turns this play into a comedy.

    Lyman Felt is an insurance agent/mogul. He’s made enough money to own two homes one in New York City and one in Elmira, New York. His money has also made it possible for him to support two families. Those two families are his own, you see, Lyman is a bigamist. He has two loving wives one child with each of those wives.

    The tragedy that begins this play is that Lyman, while driving down the icy road down Mt. Morgan goes off the road and ends up in the hospital. As he awakens in the hospital he is stuck in bed as the nurse tells him his wife is waiting to see him. As Lyman comes to full consciousness, he begins to realize it’s his wife of more than thirty years, Theo, is the first to visit. The problem is Mt. Morgan is near his Elmira home where his wife of only nine years, Leah, lives. Sure enough both wives end up meeting and the issue of Lyman’s bigamy is confronted head on.

    When confronted, Lyman states that the two options in life are to be true to others, which includes a hypocritical world, or to himself, and that he has chosen the himself. He justifies his actions by explaining he has given them good lives, has supported them financially and emotionally, and has been a good father. This is all presented in a series of flashbacks that are so well presented in this performance that I always knew a flashback was happening. Lyman goes on to say that the two women have been happier with this arrangement than they would have been if they had been the only wife. As reasons for this he cites domestic boredom, routine, and the angst of being trapped in the same relationship forever. The play uses flashbacks to take us to previous situations both families have lived.

    So this brings up the question; Which wife will take him back? Through the flashbacks and some rather humorous discussions between wives, attorneys, nurses and Lyman this performance will make you chuckle, and, at times, cringe at Lyman’s justifications.

  • gilwilson 9:55 PM on May 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: after the fall, Al Ruscio, Amy Aquino, amy brenneman, Amy Pietz, Anthony LaPaglia, , Claudette Nevins, , , Kenny Williams., , marilyn monroe, Natalija Nogulich, ,   

    “After the Fall” by Arthur Miller from “The Arthur Miller Collection” published by L.A. Theatre Works 

    “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.

  • gilwilson 3:22 PM on May 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amy Pietz, , , , , , Charles Cioffi, Don Tieri, , Ed O’Neill, greek tragedy, Harry Hamlin, immigration, , , Mary McDonnell, Peter Morse,   

    “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller (from “The Arthur Miller Collection” produced by L.A. Theatre Works) 

    “A View from the Bridge”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection”
    Published by L.A. Theatre Works
    Performed by; Charles Cioffi, Harry Hamlin, Jamie Hanes, Mary McDonnell, Peter Morse, Ed O’Neill, Amy Pietz and Don Tieri
    1 Hour 33 minutes

    Back in my college days I studied and got a degree in Theatre. During that time I had the chance to talk about, see performed, write reports on plays by Arthur Miller. One of the things I noticed back then was the similarities between Miller’s writings and ancient Greek tragedies. Miller’s stories told of how our actions have reactions and most of the time he was quick to show that our bad actions had bad reactions. In some cases those bad actions were even full of good intentions, such as the father in “All My Sons” training his son in the basement for baseball, but once he got on the field was distracted by the sounds. This led to a son that when he reached adulthood knew nothing but pitching and even that was flawed, so his life was ruined.

    I’m still listening to the ten plays featured in “The Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre Works and this time around just finished with “A View from the Bridge.” This is one play I was looking forward to hearing because during my studies I never had the chance to see this one performed. After finishing this production, I’m in awe, for several reasons. One reason is the main character Eddie Carbone is portrayed by Ed O’Neill. I know I think of Mr. O’Neill as Al Bundy from the “Married with Children” television series, and have a hard time shaking that image, but after hearing this performance, it’s going to be hard seeing him as Al Bundy. Ed O’Neill carries this play in this performance and thanks to the excellent production from L.A. Theatre Works, I felt as though I was smack dab in the middle of the audience.

    The play is set in 1950s Brooklyn, NY in an Italian neighborhood. Eddie Carbone is a longshoreman who lives with his wife, Beatrice, and his orphaned niece, Catherine. Eddie is very protective of Catherine, and at times maybe too protective. There are times that the subtext may imply that Eddie won’t let Catherine out in the world because maybe he wants her for himself. Filled with Freudian moments the relationship between Eddie and Catherine in this play could warrant an entire analysis.

    When Beatrice’s two cousins come into the country illegally they come to stay in Eddie’s home. The tension rises when one of the cousins and Catherine develop a friendship that leads to marriage. Eddie insists he only wants to marry her so he can become a legal citizen. When they begin talking about getting married soon Eddie calls the Immigration Department in to take the two men in and deport them. One of the cousins was in the country to earn money to send back to his wife and kids to provide for a better life and takes this as a personal attack from Eddie.

    One of the things that makes this play even more comparable to a Greek tragedy is that it employs both a chorus and a narrator in the form of Alfieri, the attorney who Eddie seeks out for advice.

    As a side here, this story is yet another play written to portray the McCarthyism that was sweeping the nation during the 50s.

    This audio performance is available in “The Arthur Miller Collection,” from L.A. Theatre Works.

    • Dennis 12:33 AM on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller (from The
      Arthur Miller Collection produced by L.A. Theatre Works) | Gil T.
      ‘s Pleasures” Panel Curtains was indeed a remarkable post. If only there was a whole lot more websites like this particular one on the actual world wide web. Nonetheless, thanks a lot for your time, Julius


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