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We went and saw the MTC's production of All My Sons last Saturday.

The play was written by Arthur Miller. The program says that he had written a number of unsuccessful plays and decided with this play to make it one that must succeed on Broadway. It went through numerous re-writes until he was happy with it. The play was a success: but nothing like the astonishing play he wrote next, Death of a Salesman.

All My Sons is a very good, very solid play. It's definitely laying the groundwork for Salesman. In this play we look at a conflict that arises between a successful father and an idealistic son. How should the son respond when he is confronted with evidence that his father has cut corners - and worse - in the name of success? It's almost as though Miller then thought "OK: I've written a play about a conflict between a son and a successful father. What about a tragedy involving a an unsuccessful father": which leads to the magic of Death of Salesman. But I don't want to detract from the value of All My Sons.

In addition to the son's struggle as to how to respond to the father, we're given a number of other cases where people have had to struggle to do what's right: and they succeed or fail to differing degrees. Are you obliged to sign up during World War II if you are just over the age limit for the draft? Should you remain loyal to a son who is missing but not confirmed dead? How do you choose between research with a low income vs a profession that pays well but is unsatisfying? How hard should you try to force a mother with unrealistic hope for the return of a lost son to come to recognise that he is lost?

John Stanton fits into the role of the father like a natural. Some of the accents (from other actors) wander from middle-America towards somewhere-Australia from time to time. I've got some friends who think that we should just put these plays on with Australian accents. I tend to think that they ought to put on American/British/Russian/French/whatever the play needs accents, but as audience members we should just chill if they don't quite do it perfectly.

The set is a good one. The play is set in a backyard behind a wooden American house with the cleverly presented silhouettes of poplar trees, backed by changing displays of clouds, starts, sunsets etc..

Good solid theatre, well presented.

A link to the MTC web site that, given their funny site architecture will probably only last for a little while:

All My Sons, at MTC

Comments (1)
Anthony Holmes March 21st, 2007 08:19:16 PM

 Comments
1) All My Sons
james o’toole 26/04/2007 12:55:23 PM

i also went to see all my sons with my class members because it was on the list for year 12 theatre studies. it was an interestin play very well performed and the set was fantastic. however we were asked to talk about the social and historical context of the play i was having some trouble with this. so can you help me explain. thanks tooly

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