Charlie Hobbs ’17, Staff Writer
For the past few town meetings, students have sat in the Performing Arts Center opposite a pristine grass lawn, a couple sets of quaint wicker furniture, and an All-American two-story colonial. The set, impressive even by St. Luke’s standards, is picturesque and, most importantly, the perfect advertisement for the play to which it belongs. On Friday, the SLD Theatre Department will premiere Arthur Miller’s, All My Sons, directed by Jason Peck. The play, which opened for the first time in 1947, tells the story of successful businessman, Joe Keller, as he struggles with the death of his son and his role in an unimaginable crime. A self-made man, he is thought to be living the American Dream until he and his business partner and neighbor, Steve Deever, are charged with knowingly shipping damaged aircraft engine cylinder heads to the military during WWII. He is exonerated after placing the blame on Steve. Peter Leventhal stars as Joe, with fellow seniors Grace Cashman, Zoë Smith, and Ryan Linneman rounding out the leading cast.
Smith, who plays Steve’s daughter, Anne, says that the show is much heavier than anything St. Luke’s has done in the past: “It’s not going to be like the feel-good-show that everybody sort of expects, and I think it’s going to surprise some people. In a good way, of course.” And how could it not? According to Smith, All My Sons is dominated by loss because of its setting following World War II. These characters have lost so much: family, hope, trust, innocence. “How do you move on?” asks Zoë, “Do you choose to do something for your family or something for your community as a whole?”
If that’s not intriguing enough for you, there is also a subplot of forbidden love. Anne, who was once engaged to Joe’s son, who passed in the war, is now in love with her late fiance’s brother, played by Linneman. Says Smith, “She’s a very strong woman. Her life was sort of turned upside down when her father was charged. She doesn’t have much other than her brother and her mother. At the end of the day, however, she knows that she can’t put other people above herself.” This self-interest leads to major conflict within the show.
That being said, do not be deterred by the dark nature of All My Sons’ subject matter. The cast unanimously dubbed Ellie Haljun, ‘19, the show’s ray of sunshine. Haljun portrays Bert, a neighborhood kid with whom Joe plays. Underclassman, Henry Jodka, ‘20, arrives halfway through to shake things up as Ann’s brother.
If you want a Friday night full of drama that will also make you think, All My Sons is without a doubt the show for you. In the midst of a chaotic election season, here is a show that will put things into perspective and remind us what true American values are. Be warned, however, for it is not for the faint of heart. Small children should be left at home. The show goes on at 7 tomorrow night!