Death of a Salesman
A revelatory twist played to devastating effect
This masterpiece resonates and devastates afresh
Considered Arthur Miller’s greatest work, the 1949 Pulitzer Prize winner Death of a Salesman transfers its sell-out run at the Young Vic to Piccadilly Theatre. The play centres on a middle-class Brooklyn family, the Lomans, in post-war America and the last 24 hours of failed travelling salesman Willy Loman’s life.
Age-old themes with a contemporary perspective
Aside from its phenomenal cast and Anna Fleischle’s innovative set design reflecting Willy’s crumbling mind, what gives this production such extraordinary depth is the radical vision of the directors: Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell. They remain faithful to Miller’s Death of a Salesman script but have black African American actors playing the Lomans and have cast white actors elsewhere to create a contemporary twist and highlight the uncomfortable threads of racial prejudice running through the play. It is a modern take on a classic play that interweaves the past and present – and the public and private.
Best known for his screen performances in The Wire and Suits, Wendell Pierce gives a ground-breaking performance of wounded pride as Willy Loman. Pierce brings over 30 years of stage and screen experience, to the role, with Broadway appearances in Serious Money and August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.
Willy’s ever-loving wife, Linda Loman, is played by Sharon D Clarke with sensitivity and spirit. Clarke is drawn to strong characters, such as in Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change and her Olivier Award-winning part in The Amen Corner. Her versatility extends to BBC drama Holby City and as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost the Musical.
From exploring a man’s loss of identity and his desperate need to be ‘liked’, this contemporary Death of a Salesman cast and creative team offer a compelling new angle to Miller’s criticism of the ‘American dream’.
24 October 2019 - 4 January 2020
16 Denman Street
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