Saint Thomas Aquinas High School’s Deanna Wallace
God does not let a son be killed by his father. In the world of 1940’s America, however, God may lie. The Benjamin School recently produced Arthur Miller’s play All My Sons. This three-act play revolves around the Keller family, with each member going through the grieving process of their son and older brother, Larry Keller. Despite it being three years since his disappearance, Larry is never officially pronounced dead, which sends leading lady Kate Keller, played by Katherine Rodgers, into a spiral, insisting he is still alive through all three acts.
All My Sons is based on a true story inspired by Miller’s mother. She brought an Ohioan newspaper to Miller’s attention that depicted a scandal in which the Wright Aeronautical Corporation had attempted to bypass army inspection with faulty materials. They wanted the inspection officers to approve defective aircraft engines knowing they would be on the frontlines during the war. Writing this play was Miller’s last resort before giving up on his dream, famously telling his mother he must “find some other line of work” if the play was not successful. The play premiered on January 29, 1947, in Coronet Theatre in New York City. This show was far more successful than Miller ever imagined, currently having nine worldwide revivals ranging from Turkey to England.
Upon watching this show, there were concerns about the level of difficulty. The cast showed a clear understanding of a show this heart-wrenching and gruesome to produce. The leading couple, Joe and Kate Keller, played by Jacob Steinger and Katherine Rodgers had a chemistry that stuck true to the time, respecting one another while also fighting how couples do. Caden Quinn, playing the sweet Chris Keller, had a scene in which his mother, father, and finance Ann Deever, played by Catherine Schenk, were on separate sides of the backyard, showing the family slowly tearing apart.
Some of the stage combat did seem unnatural. Some of the ensemble’s characters did play their respective roles slightly out of the period. The hair and makeup did not always stay true to the show.
Kate Keller’s hairstyle changed throughout the show, especially when her neighbor Lydia Lubey visited, planning to style her hair. This small moment showed how women kept up with their appearance at the time and executed it wonderfully.
Overall, The Benjamin School put on a compelling production of All My Sons.