West Boca Raton High’s Erin Nadel
While Arthur Miller is known to have mature, challenging plays to overcome, students at The Benjamin School did not get discouraged or disappoint the audience! Their interpretation of All My Sons left not a dry eye in the house and not a jaw left un-dropped.
All My Sons, which premiered on Broadway in 1947, is one of Arthur Miller’s, classic American playwright, best and most well-known works. It won two Tonys including Best Author and has been revived and transformed to film form multiple times. It follows the Keller and Deever families’ revelation of past happenings between the two groups and has twists and turns leading up to a tragic resolution.
To begin, the makeup and hair were just perfect for this show. Student-led by Catherine Schenk, all actors were perfectly in the time period. The woman had bright lips and neutral-toned eye makeup as was accustomed to housewives of the 1940s. The men all had gelled back hair, also normal for that time. Jim and Bert, both played by female actors, were given a very convincing beard as well as hair pulled back into low buns and hidden by hats. This was a wise and frugal choice as it was entirely effective and saved the production from unnecessary wigging. Kate Keller was also seen wearing a hair snood, which was commonly worn by women at the time. Aging makeup, while hard to note because of a lack of spotting or lighting on the porch, seemed to be apparent and was not overdone as some might feel to do. It was very apparent, however, in the white polish applied to Joe Keller’s hair, a man in his early 60s. All in all, the makeup and hair for this show was clearly thought out and
impressively done for student Catherine Schenk, who not only helped with these aspects but also played Ann Deever in the show!
More attention should also be drawn to the chemistry of the actors on stage. Chris Keller (Caden Quinn) and Ann Deever (Catherine Schenk) had an awkward, childlike, and flirtatious nature in their early conversations which evolved into frank expression of feeling throughout the show; the actors demonstrated this perfectly. Also, George Deever (Casey Crawford), who comes to visit the Keller family in the second act, affected the family dynamic quite apparently. Upon entering the stage, the actor commanded his stage presence to be noticed. His constant pacing around the stage added to the uneasy feeling of the scene and was very much appreciated. The use of sound effects was also quite effective in this production with car engines starting up and music playing during more emotional parts of text.
All in all, All My Sons at The Benjamin School was beautifully done and had every aspect of believability within it. Those were not just students on stage, but a girl wanting to get married, a mother still grieving for her lost child and a cowardly father who never took the blame.