Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 11, 2008

All My Sons

Exit 7 Players, Ludlow
Weekends through February 16, 2008
By Donna Bailey-Thompson

This play is worth seeing.

At the end of the first act, there was silence. No applause. No one moved. For two reasons: the audience had become riveted by a masterfully-written story performed by a fine cast and the house lights had not brightened enough to signal that intermission had arrived.

Exit 7 Players have bestowed upon Arthur Miller’s emotionally-stirring, "All My Sons" the highest honor: respect for the material and for the craft itself. Noted for their upbeat productions of such musicals as "Gypsy," "Sweet Charity" and "Cabaret," presenting this particular drama now is as timely as it was when it opened on Broadway in 1947. There’s not an old bone in its body because "All My Sons" is about timeless concerns – family and business, love and ethics, courage and cowardice – huge subjects that beset ordinary people.

Director Jennifer Curran has stated, "This is the story I needed to tell. What we can choose to ignore, what we can and cannot live with and what we cannot forgive." Her emotional connection with the script is reflected in the performances, especially those of Kate Keller (Jennifer Bauduccio), Joe Keller (Fred Piel), Chris Keller (Charles Holt) and George Deever (Dan Derby). The conflicted Kellers and the accusatory Deever are superb. Special kudos go to Bauduccio who stepped into a demanding role less than two weeks before the opening. As Anne Deever, Lea D. Oppedisano plays an establishment daughter, a far cry from her most recent Exit 7 Players role as Charity Hope Valentine in "Sweet Charity."

Once again, Paul Hamel (Set Designer/Technical Director/Set Construction) has fashioned a set that complements the play’s theme, especially as represented by family and business: the Keller’s house dominates the stage but visible across the road is the factory.

There are strong similarities between "All My Sons" and Miller’s play "A Death of a Salesman." But to paraphrase a line from "Salesman," more attention must be paid to "All My Sons" because, to paraphrase a cosmetic’s advertising pitch, it’s worth it.