Sunday, June 8, 2014

A review of The Price

By Matthew Falduto
Photo By Lily Allen-Duenas

Scott Wakefield, Marquetta Senters, Rip Russell
Amana - What is the price you’re willing to accept to let go of the regrets and anger that boil within you? That’s one of the questions asked by The Old Creamery Theatre’s production of The Price, a lesser known play by the talented Arthur Miller. A four character piece, the play takes a while to get going, but once it does, it’s a roller coaster ride of brotherly pain. 

Police sergeant Victor (Scott Wakefield) has decided to sell his deceased father’s furniture. A secondhand furniture broker, Solomon (Kevin Burford), offers eleven hundred dollars for these belongings. Victor reaches a tentative agreement with him, but his wife Esther (Marquetta Senters), and brother Walter (Rip Russell), have other ideas about the price Victor should receive.

This play has a reputation for being a little over written – ten words are often used when five would suffice – and that’s a fair criticism. However, the four talented actors do an excellent job with the words, infusing them with every appropriate emotion. In addition, the excellent set design by Shelly A. Ford grounds us in an attic filled with old memories. The replacement of some of the theatre seats with different antique chairs and couches made an intimate space even more intimate. The audience truly felt they were part of the action. Thoughtful direction by Angie Toomsen also helped move the play along during some of the more verbose sections of dialogue.

The play really gets moving in Act Two, when Walter and Victor confront each other with their different versions of the past. I believed from the first moment that these two men were brothers with a difficult history. Russell’s practiced pauses and careful intonations told us exactly what Walter was thinking even as he said something completely different. Wakefield played Victor as a man consumed by bottled up pain and as the play progressed he smartly released more and more pain at just the right moments. His final revelations, delivered so close to the audience we could almost reach out and touch him, were heartbreaking. Kudos to actor and director for the careful and thoughtful journey Walter takes in this play.

Senters and Burford had many wonderful moments in the show as well. Senters, in particular, played her rage and frustration at the end beautifully. Burford provided many moments of comic relief.

I would encourage you to catch this show as well as the rest of the Old Creamery’s Studio Series. They are generally not as well attended as the main stage shows, but are often more gripping and thought provoking. The intimate theatre provides a more intense experience and you won’t regret checking out The Price, which runs through June 15.

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