Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Death of a Salesman - Soulpepper

Death of a Salesman - Soulpepper

The only thing I knew about this play going in was that it was depressing and that the main character was the model of Gil from the Simpsons. It took a while for me to shake that Simpsons image of hapless Gil, but shake it I did.

The play unravels slowly, like an onion, layer by layer to the point that even at the midway point I was unsure of what was keeping me there.

By the end the story is revealed, a timeless story of a search for identity, our place in the world, of hope.

In my opinion Death of a Salesman is the best play ever written.

Soulpepper as always means quality acting, the lone misstep being Nancy Palk whom I felt did not stay consistent. In her defense her part is the most thin, but I felt times where she lost her motivation. It should also be noted she is the real life wife of the lead, Joseph Ziegler.

Ari Cohen is fantastic as Biff, simmering with discontent throughout the play and finally boiling over at the end in a flood of emotions that had me and the entire audience in tears.

The revelation here is the lead Joseph Ziegler as Willy Loman, the salesman of the title. He does not go for show, but is consistent through out and I'm guessing most people didn't realize how good the performance was. Like a master actor, he embodies the role, becoming Willy so completely you can't imagine him as anything else.

A great performance of one of the seminal works of the 20th century.

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