All My Sons
PlayMakers Rep—Reeling from the catastrophic failure of his first play, the 31-year-old Arthur Miller was going to pack it in if his follow-up met a similar fate. Fortunately, All My Sons would save his career and set the tone for a body of work marked by political conscience and familial disappointments. All My Sons concerns a family that is torn apart when its patriarch is revealed to have profited from shoddy wartime manufacturing that cost people's lives. Taking a cue from Henrik Ibsen (see Wednesday, Feb. 3), Miller crafted a tale of the individual moral conscience standing up for justice—indeed, Miller would have the opportunity to face a moral dilemma of his own when he was hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify about Communism in the artistic community. Miller took the high road, while the director of the original production of All My Sons, Elia Kazan, took the other one—and a great theatrical partnership was broken.
This production by PlayMakers Rep is directed by Davis McCallum, who was responsible for PlayMakers' ecstatic Romeo and Juliet a couple of seasons back. The show opens tonight at 8 p.m. and runs through Feb. 14. Visit www.playmakersrep.org. —David Fellerath
State of the Union Watch Party with Traction
TRACTION HQ—It's been a year since Obama was swept into office, borne aloft by the fervent dreams of voters who imagined the closing of Guantanamo, the winding down of foreign wars, comprehensive health care reform, the end to the Cheney-driven expansion of the imperial presidency, a spending program to put Americans back to work and, not least, a crackdown on the banks that have seized America's treasure and and future prosperity.
The bad reviews from the left are beginning to pile up, and tonight's State of the Union address—that annual dumb-show of applause lines and sycophantic congressmen—provides an opportunity for the president to confront his critics, reassure his supporters and kick-start his presidency. Early signs are not encouraging; we hear that he's going to throw in with the deficit hawks, endorsing a spending freeze that will please Wall Street but could paralyze any progress toward job creation.
Durham is full of people who worked their hearts out for Obama's cause; we're guessing you'll find more than a few if you watch the televised address with the dogged progressive fighters of Traction at 1018 Broad St. Get a good seat at 8:15 p.m. RSVP to sotu@getTraction.org or 872-2846. —David Fellerath