Critique Of Modern Tragicomedy: All My Sons

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An intriguing modern tragicomedy yet unpredictability of motifs defines Howard Davies reproduction of All My Sons. Every factor involved in the development of the play correlated perfectly that the build of tension played my emotions along the lines of justice. Overall, I can confidently prove that the Apollo Theatre’s attempt to resemble Arthur Miller’s recall of a true WWII story succeeded.

The play is set in the backyard of a suburban household following World War II and contributed to show the audience how most of the Keller family is moving on with their lives following the later to be confirmed death of Larry, son of Joe Keller. This helped me understand Kate Keller’s struggle with accepting her son is dead and instead believing it’s a temporary disappearance. With a crucial reference to a past death that would influence the decisions of the characters, Davies conveyed the message that the truth will prevail. There is no doubt in the accuracy of resemblance to the plot because Joe Keller, successful businessman and father, was originally arrested for causing the death of twenty-one pilots but was released by framing his employee Steve Deever, father of his to be daughter in law Ann Deever. When the truth is revealed to the family, Joe’s world comes crashing down as his son loses all respect and credibility and believes his father caused Larry’s death leading Joe to commit suicide. The unanticipated climax proved as an indirect form of revenge that left everyone devastated.

The protagonist of the recreation is Chris Keller. Since he has moved on with Larry’s death, Chris wants to get married to Ann, his brother’s fiancé, because he loves her and desires to be with her. This is realized early in the first act because argument erupts between Joe and his son when Chris suggests the idea of marrying Ann with the main concern being how will Kate react. He proceeds to take down a destroyed tree that stood as memorial for Larry which would initiate his goal to rid hope of Larry’s return. However, Chris’s mother Kate poses as an obstacle because she will not accept the fact that Larry is gone and expects the rest of the family to anticipate his return. Although Chris and Ann are ready to get married, they scheme to persuade Kate to move on, but complications arise when Ann’s brother George Deever visits with news eventually forcing Ann to confirm Larry’s death with a goodbye note which enforces the concept of the theme.

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The antagonist is George Deever. Bearing conflicting news following his visit from the prison where his father Steve is incarcerated, George wants the Keller family to realize the lie they’ve been fed and prevent Ann from marrying Chris. This is proven obvious in the second act which mostly consisted of a tense and lengthy argument between himself and the Keller family with Ann siding with them. George proceeds to convince Chris that Joe is a liar ant that he should confront him which ignites an unsure drive Chris had regarding his father’s involvement in the crimes committed. By disturbing the tranquility of the Keller household, George is supporting the theme.I believe the best actor has to be Chris Keller played by Stephen Campbell Moore. The role he takes on of a son with expectations to take over his father’s business with the main intentions of making himself happy was executed incredibly.

As he kept getting hit with complications and obstacles, the way Moore expresses change in the character shows the audience the stress Chris is facing and the toll it’s taken on him. The main reason I would say he deserves the best actor title is how he handles his father’s proven accusation with extreme outrage which satisfies the audience expectations especially with his hostile body language and tone. The worst actor has to be Kate Keller played by Zoe Wanamaker. She takes on a role of a broken mother who desires the return of her son Larry while trying to keep the Keller family together. However, she poorly makes the audience feel her pain and instead makes it seem she has an alternative rationale behind her belief her son is temporarily missing. Ultimately, the role of a mother needs to have a heart like a mother when her kids are in danger, something Wanamaker clearly lacked.

The lighting played a huge contribution when transitioning acts but mostly to highlight the condition of the environment. The audience is met with a stable nuclear family on what seems to be a regular beautiful day but as complications arise throughout the plot, the lighting gives off a warmer cooler indicating the heated argument between the Keller’s and George while slowly transitioning to the evening which enforced the darkness surrounding the accusation. This definitely helped mine and the audiences understanding of the determination George had to make the Keller family go through the trauma the Deever’s had to go through. The costumes also aided in understanding the time the play is set despite any knowledge surrounding post World War II. In act one, the characters are amazed by the beauty of Ann’s dress which would be described as basic in the present day, but it reflects the cultural change almost half a century ago. The wearing down of certain characters attires also showed the audience the toll it was taking on each family. Although it may be a natural aspect, the sweat that Chris carried with him during heated moments were visible to the audience but brought attention to how much was going on with him and is another reason why he deserves the best actor title.

A lesson to take away from this play is that an integrable man is a respected and healthy one. Despite the circumstances at hand or the consequences potentially faced, risk of jeopardizing relationships isn’t worth the cost. All My Sons is a great example of a modern tragicomedy that is relatable to some present-day households and phenomenal reproduction of Miller’s work. Davies did a wonderful job of bringing old issues and contrasting them with today’s day and age.  

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