Theatre / All or nothing

 
 

A post-war play from one of the most respected playwrights in the last century, Kate Rothwell finds out about All My Sons.

ALL MY SONS IS A PRODUCTION which comes laden with high expectations. As internationally acclaimed American playwright Arthur Miller’s first successful play, it has seen many an adaptation since it first hit the stage over 60 years ago and acquired countless fans every time.

Actor Garrett Lombard takes on a main role as Chris Keller in one of the latest productions of the Miller’s classic, which runs at the Gate Theatre this month, and while he does not deny the added pressure of working with such a well-known script is also well aware of its benefits.

“Working under great writers; it’s more complex, it’s more difficult to master what they’re trying to do with their writing. But it’s a challenge that’s nice to accept because once you do master it, or try and get some grip on it at least, you realise just how good the stuff is.”

Garrett had initially planned to take a career break from theatre and focus on other projects, such as television or film, for a while but was drawn back into theatre by the sheer strength of the script itself. “I was putting off reading the script again because I knew if I read it I’d want to do it – and then I read it and said ‘ah, what are you thinking about, it’s brilliant stuff’”.

“Working under great writers; it’s more complex, it’s more difficult to master what they’re trying to do with their writing”

The post-World War II setting of All My Sons has been a common backdrop for films and theatrical pieces alike over the past number of decades, but Garrett believes that this historic period has not yet lost its appeal, and does not see its reoccurrence ending any time soon.

“Now you have the war in Iraq and it’s the same thing all over again in a way. And the whole point that it brings up in this production is that people that have been at war come back home and nothing has changed at home, and nobody realises what they’re doing – the sort of disillusionment. That’s probably going to be with us for many generations to come.”

All My Sons was performed on Broadway only last year, featuring a few expectedly high-profile names including John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes. Garrett dismisses this production as being in complete contrast to Miller’s naturalistic style, claiming that it was “a very arthouse sort of interpretation of a naturalistic play, which never really works.”

The production at the Gate Theatre however, is “absolutely true to Miller” rather than reaching out to embrace any new art forms. “It’s a very well thought-out production. It’s a traditional, I suppose, rendition of the play.” Instead of any abstract concepts, the one thing that Garrett thinks will make this play stand out is its “fantastic acting I hope”.

Tickets range from €15 – €30; for more information see www.gate-theatre.ie

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