Written by Arthur Miller Directed by Giles Croft
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse Presentation
- 28th February 2009)
What is the price we pay for the way we behave in life? That is the profound
question impressively examined by legendary American playwright Arthur
Miller in this deeply resonant production, given more pathos in this time
of increasing ecomomic recession and subsequent moral schisms in society
and in families.
Poignancy is there by the plateful, given that it deals with a family
trying to cope with the 1930s Great Depression in America.
You hear talk in the UK of the divorce rate going sky high because one
or both of the bread winners in a family can not cope with unemployment
and having to struggle financially. A lot of people have to wake up to
the fact that the party is over and the credit boom has become the credit
The family portrayed in The Price, written in 1968, fits this bill. They
are driven apart by money - or rather the lack of it in the case of Victor
(Robin Kingsland) and his long suffering wife, Esther (Elaine Claxton).
The play opens on a subdued note when Victor enters the room - resembling
a junk furniture store, with tables and chairs piled upon each other upto
the ceiling - where his family used to live. Following the death of his
father he has decided to sell it all.
The memories - generally bitter ones - come flooding back, and are exacerbated
when Victor's brother Walter (David Beames) appears on the scene; the
two of them had not spoken to one another for sixteen years.
The reason for this separation is then revealed in often soul-searching
and sometimes brutal dialogue directed at each other. Who is to blame?
Who is to blame for the way I am? They pour scorn in dollops.
Esther - generally a spectator while this goes on - then adds to Victor's
increasing despair by regularly belittling him for not making enough money
for them live on.
Despite the dark torment and melancholy prevalent throughout, humour
appears in the shape of elderly Jewish furniture trader Solomon (Jon Rumney).
He almost acts as a counsellor as the two warring factions battle it out,
peppering his language with wry observations about life, money, women
When you are born you buy a ticket into life - that is the price you