Walnut Street Theater presents ‘The Price’

By Robert Kallwass
February 14, 2008

The Walnut Street Theater hosted the 1967 play “The Price” written by Arthur Miller. The old Philadelphia theater ran the play on one of their main stages running up to March 2.

The play is considered one of Miller’s masterpieces as it gives insights to the typical American family of the late 60’s. Wit and humor brought out laughter from the audience, and the remarkable interactions between the small cast drove the story along.

A four man cast, consisting of Andy Prosky, Leisa Mather, Robert Prosky and John Prosky acted out the story of a family selling off their old furniture that was left in an old Manhattan attic. Robert Prosky, father to Andy and John, has appeared in numerous Broadway plays, and movies such as “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Hill Street Blues.” He has been nominated for two Tony awards and an Emmy.

Andy and John Prosky did some Broadway shows as well and played brothers in “The Price” along with their father. This show was Andy’s first time at the Walnut Street Theater having the unique opportunity to work with two family members.

Leisa Mather is an Australian born actress who has as of late been working in New York City doing mostly Broadway shows. She won a Tony award for her work in “Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit.”

The actors were skillfully directed by Micheal Carleton who does work also in New York and Chicago. He also directs The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and the Orlando Shakespeare Festival.

The play took place on one set, a very clustered but personal attic room. Every little detail and object in the set takes part in the play, bringing back nostalgia to the two brothers trying to sell these timeless objects of their childhood. The 90 year old appraiser who is hired to appraise or buy the items plays off his old age and his almost pointless stories to make a good purchase off the one retiring New York cop. After he sells everything in the room, his brother, who is a scientist, shows up, and they go through all their old possessions from their childhood, from records to fencing swords, instruments and furniture. The old appraiser was one of the more lively characters and produced lots of laughs from the audience.

The play ran about two hours with a 15 minute intermission. The acting flowed very smoothly. Having family members play family brings out the very realistic sense of the American family which Arthur Miller focuses on in this play.

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Robert Kallwass

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