Through December 10|
ALL MY SONS Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP
By Augustine Warner
People lie to neighbors.
People lie to family.
People lie to themselves.
In Road Less Traveledís wonderful production of ďAll My Sons,Ē Arthur Miller mixes all three, in a look at war profiteering and illusion.
The playwright set the story in Ohio, basing it on a real scandal in an engine plant in that state during World War II, involving both the manufacturer of airplane engines and the Army officers who approved defective engines for the Curtiss P-40.
For the Road Less Traveled, there is some irony since nearly 14-thousand P-40s were built, all here in Buffalo.
In Joe Keller and Steve Deeverís plant, a series of defective cylinder heads were made and shipped, eventually winding up in a squadron in the Pacific and 21 of the P-40s fell out of the sky and the pilots died.
Eventually, both Joe and Steve went to jail.
Joe was ultimately cleared and Steve went to prison.
Joe (Sean Cullen) returned to the company and profitability and a booming post-war era.
He claims it was all Steveís action, something most of the neighbors donít believe.
Son Chris (Nick Stevens has come back from a hard infantry war and started to take over the company business.
Son Larry never came back, disappearing in combat.
Everyone carefully says he wasnít in a P-40.
Mom Kate (Lisa Vitrano) is a long-term basket case, convinced Larry will eventually walk in the front door, even though the war has been over for a while and all the POWs are home.
Then, Chris invites Steveís daughter, Ann (Lissette DeJesus) to come back to her hometown and home neighborhood from New York City, planning to ask her to marry him.
Itís complicated because, way back when, Larry and Ann were in love.
Annís arrival triggers an ultimately tragic series of events.
Cullenís wizard performance as Joe makes clear this was a man who saw making money as a positive good, no matter how it was made, claiming itís all for Chris.
In the confrontations between father and son, Chris begins to understand the evil in his father and maybe Joe is the bad man so many people suspect.
He was certainly involved, something not seen in the court case.
The boy gets the girl.
The off-stage sound of a gunshot suggests he took the easy way out.
Director Scott Behrend has a really strong cast led by Cullen, a local native with a long career high in the entertainment industry, along with Stevens and Vitrano.
Collin Ranney contributed a strong and effective set of the Keller back yard and its neighbors, highlighted by doll-like houses on the set back wall.
The local theater scene has produced a group of remarkable shows in the last few weeks and ďAll My SonsĒ is high among them.
Thatís why itís a must-see show.
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