Saint Thomas Aquinas High School’s Patrick Chapman

The Benjamin School presents All My Sons: An American Tragedy by Arthur Miller follows Joe Keller as he struggles with his actions that led to the death of his son, Larry. His wife, Kate, is in denial over his death, believing that after three years Larry may still come back, denying his death because she believes that Joe couldn’t have possibly caused his death. Their other son, Chris, tries to make her realize that Larry is dead as he wants to marry Larry’s fiancee, Ann, who is also the daughter of Joe’s partner who is still in prison for manufacturing of the plane parts that killed Larry.

Immediately you can see how many moving parts are involved in this show, and the Benjamin School does an excellent job of showing this calamity. The four main characters of the story (Joe, Kate, Chris, and Ann) have an electric on stage chemistry that conveys the calamity of the story. Jacob Steinger as Joe Keller does an excellent job of showing that emotion, with his ability to project and show the quick snaps of a tortured psyche, with the ability to switch from a quiet conversation to a yell of rage and sadness. Kate, played by Katherine Rodgers, shows the state of delusion perfectly, with her ability to quickly deny things with that hint of sorrow in her voice to show she knows the truth. Chris and Ann (played by Caden Quinn and Catherine Schenk respectively) show a tortured love, one that isn’t meant to be, but one that feels as if it will persist despite everything, including Chris realizing what his father has done, and Ann realizing that Joe put her father in prison
for his crime. These four characters have the ability to fight with such a passion in my voice that I was swept away.

The issues in the show arise at some minor points. I feel that some members of the rest of the cast could take away from the tone of the show, that even though they were lighthearted characters, they were at times caricatures of themselves. The stage combat could have been stronger, and despite the tone of the scenes distracting from it, it still took away a special touch from the show. Finally, some of the movement in the show appeared robotic, with characters appearing to lack a sense of life to them that could have truly taken this show to an entirely new level.

Overall, I enjoyed All My Sons. It’s an excellent show and comes from a new director, Jason Peck, who only arrived at The Benjamin School a year ago, which makes the quality of the show even more impressive. The issues the show has are minimized by the skill of the actors and I commend The Benjamin School for putting on a show of this caliber and maturity, and doing it at such a high level.

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