Providence Players All My SonsBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jun 2nd, 2009 • Category: Reviews
James Lee Community Center, Falls Church, VA
$15/$12 Seniors and Students
Playing through June 13th
Reviewed May 29, 2009
All My Sons is a play in three acts by Arthur Miller. Joe Keller owns an airplane part manufacturing company. Several years earlier, during World War II, his business partner shipped some defective parts which lead to the deaths of 21 American pilots. Now his partner’s daughter wants to marry Joe’s son, dredging up the old wounds.
The play was delightful. This is a play that has the potential to drag, yet director Beth Whitehead kept the pace at just the right speed to keep the audience engaged.
Mike Donahue played the role of Joe Keller, with many layers that were gradually revealed throughout the evening. He was easy going, funny, then later became afraid, angry, guilty, and finally sad. All these emotions were clearly evident on his face and through his actions. His wife Kate Keller was played by Jayne L. Victor. Victor’s emotions were much more guarded, although as time progressed, she became more expressive. David Whitehead played surviving son Chris Keller. Whitehead was at ease on stage and related well with the rest of the cast. Powerful scenes in the second and third acts brought the emotions out in both Donahue and Whitehead that captivated the audience. Anne Deever was played by Nicolette O’Connor. As the outsider, O’Connor was nonetheless easy going and her speech and actions showed the most openness on stage and when relating to other actors.
The Providence Players continued their high standard of detailed, exquisite sets with the Keeler backyard. Set Designer Patrick David made the building very realistic and functional, including covering the stage floor with “grass.” Ingrid Helvig David as the set decorator and dresser made the set detailed and colorful, but not showy. Sarah Mournighan and Jimmy Gertzog‘s light design was wonderful, make sure you watch the cyc light in the second act. The fight choreography (by Mike Donahue, David Whitehead, and Beth Whitehead) was executed well. The emotions pouring out of David were timed well to coordinate with the fight itself and his lines.
There is one line that was unintentionally humorous. Joe Keller tells his son that he hoped his business was as good as General Motors. When written in 1947 (heck, even in 2007) that line would not have merited a chuckle. But at the performance we saw, it got a huge burst of laughter that quickly subsided.
All My Sons ran just over two hours with one fifteen minute intermission. It is playing through Saturday June 13th, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and a Sunday matinees on June 7th at 2 PM at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Virginia. This show combined solid acting, direction, and technical details to create a memorable performance.
Disclaimer: Mike and Laura worked with Providence Players earlier this season.
This play was written in 1947 and was inspired by a true event about a successful businessman who knowingly sold the government defective airplane parts during the war. Miller took liberties with the event and created his own world in which these choices might have been made and the fictional characters that might have made them.
Joe and Kate Keller have lost their younger son Larry in the war three and a half years prior. Kate is hanging on to the belief that he is still alive. “There is no body and no grave.” Chris, the older and surviving son has fallen in love with Larry’s former fiancée and childhood neighbor, Ann. He has invited her from home in New York with the hope that their relationship will blossom and have a future.
The themes in this play run wide and deep: love honor, success, family, hope and despair, and personal choice. What choices do we encounter each day in our personal and professional lives that impact us on a large or small scale? What fulcrum do we use to make choices and defend them? What is our guiding principle for the way we treat people, the decisions we make, the choices we ultimately are accountable for and how we justify them?
No man is an island, entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own or thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. -John Donne
- Joe Keller: Mike Donahue
- Kate Keller: Jayne L. Victor
- Chris Keller: David Whitehead
- Ann Deever: Nicolette O’Connor
- George Deever: Tim Brown
- Dr. Jim Bayliss: David Gorsline
- Sue Bayliss: Terri Hobson
- Frank Lubey: Jym Newton
- Lydia Lubey: Jessica Pipes
- Bert: Blake Phillips
- Bert: Ethan Phillips
- Understudy to George Deevers: Dan Hobson
- Director: Beth Whitehead
- Producer: Kathy White
- Technical Director: Jimmy Gertzog & Sarah Mournighan
- Tech Crew: Patrick David, Mary Frances Dini, Chip Gertzog, Mary Goss, Mike Mattheisen, David Whitehead
- Lighting Design: Sarah Mournighan, Jimmy Gertzog
- Sound Design: Jimmy Gertzog, Daniel Whitehead
- Stage Manager: Marie Custode
- Set Design and Construction: Patrick David
- Set Construction Crew: Janet Bartlemay, Norm Bartlemay, Tom Coscia, Marie Custode, Rommel Custode, Ingrid Helvig David, Patrick David, Mike Daze, Joe Gargiulo, Chip Gertzog, David Gorsline, Leta Hall, Kevin Harnisch, Bet Harrison, Terri Hobson, Mike Mattheisen, Dave Schwartz, Robbie Snow, Bob Timmerman, Tina Thronson, John White, Kathy White, Beth Whitehead, David Whitehead, Claire Whitehead, Josh Whitehead
- Prop Master: Roberta Lisker
- Set Decoration & Set Dressing: Ingrid Helvig David
- Costume Design: Susan Kaplan, Tina Thronson, Beth Whitehead
- Costume Crew: Beth Harrison, Kate Morse-Smith, Robbie Snow, Marcia Tatum, Araxie Vann, Jayne Victor, Kathy White
- Hair & Make-up Design: Robbie Snow & Beth Harrison
- Fight Choreography: Mike Donahue, David Whitehead, Beth Whitehead
- House Management: Ann & Matt Ames, Sue Winfield
- Publicity: Gail Seavey, Barbara & Chip Gertzog
- Playbill: Cindy Paska
- Playbill Advertising: John Coscia, Tina Thronson, Cindy Paska
- Photographer: Chip Gertzog
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/3860.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.