Death of a Salesman

As America strains to pull itself out of recession, the household bread-winners’ need for economic and social support has inflated near the point of popping.

With the loss of jobs comes the loss of composure, and while our financial plight intensifies our stresses, nerves and erodes our stability, relationships must be used as the rope and pull us from the ever deepening debt.

In Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” Willy Loman, the salesman, is overtaken by these stresses, dismantling his mental stability and all of his relationships. Director Jessie Rose’s production captured the calamity of Willy’s dissipating consciousness where a man’s resistance to let go of his pride causes him to lose his grip on his job, his family, his friends and his mind. The combination of the cozy playhouse, minimal set and impassioned acting form a composition true to Arthur Miller’s classic.

Once clearing the threshold of The Rose Theatre, guests are greeted with friendly faces and frightfully delicious snacks. This cozy theatre welcomes guests into the world of drama inside a blackbox style theatre with sketches of skyscrapers decorating the black walls and makeshift stadium seating that appealed to guests visually and physically.

Scenes are staged with minimal props and setting, staying true to the plays’ traditional style. This lets the actors’ words and actions bring the drama to life. Empty picture frames on the set reflect the empty relationships of the characters, setting the dreary tone for audiences eagerly awaiting the start of the play.

As the audience settles in their seats with freshly made pastries and decorations by Freaky Treats, the lights dim, the skyscrapers on the walls fade and the actors take the stage. Barry Goettl and Deborah Basham-Burns, acting as Willy Loman and his wife, Linda, project the deep, but strained, love of Willy and Linda.

Goettl encompasses Willy’s degenerative state of mind with churning waves of anger, joy and annoyance washing over the audience as the character experiences episodes of hallucination and reality.

Basham-Burns also succeeds in her role with her depiction of the loving Linda, painting the perfect portrait of a mother and wife.

The dynamics of the brotherhood between Biff and Happy Loman, played by Jon Smith and Rocky Bronco, also captures the essence of Arthur Miller’s play, illustrating the relationship as playful but stained with Happy’s desire for more attention and Biff’s inability to escape the spotlight. Happy’s role generally takes a backseat to Biff’s, but in The Rose Theatre’s production, Happy captivates in a way that’s not typical to the play. Happy’s lines, generally tainted with his jealously and need for attention, which are typically interpreted and delivered as whiny, are instead made comical, working well to contrast Biff’s angry outbursts.

With the classic presentation of set and play, and the fresh take on Happy, The Rose Theatre’s production of “Death of a Salesman” is well worth $10 to $12.

Through Feb. 25, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 to $12

11838 Wurzbach Rd. at Lockhill Selma. San Antonio, TX 78230

Box Office: 210-360-0004

therosetheatreco@yahoo.com

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