American Nightmare

Any director hoping to tackle Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play Death of a Salesman has a huge hurdle to overcome; after all, many theater-lovers studied the work at either a high-school or college level and bring plenty of preconceived notions to the production. “One of the dangers of this play is that everybody thinks they know it,” says director Anthony Powell. “And when I read it for the first time in twenty years, what I remembered about the play is not what the play is.”

But the setting for this incarnation gave him an advantage: The in-the-round layout of the Space Theatre allowed him and the set designer to create a unique minimalist canvas for the unraveling of Willy Loman’s life. “The thing that people don’t really remember is that the whole action takes place in 24 hours, and more than half of it is in Willy’s mind,” Powell notes. “So the moment you do set changes, you’ve just stopped the play. On stage, we’ve got a couple of different platforms, a table and three chairs, minimal props, and that’s it. It’s really the actors and the text.”

Salesman, the quintessential portrayal of the death of the American Dream, opens tonight and runs through October 20 at the Space, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; tickets start at $35. Visit denvercenter.org to purchase yours.
Saturdays, Sundays, 1:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.; Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 21. Continues through Oct. 20, 2013

 
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