Theater Review: 'The Price'

By: 
Ben Miles
Elyse Mirto and David Nevell in "ThePrice."

Written in the late 1960s by Arthur Miller, one of America’s greatest dramatist, “The Price” premiered on Broadway in the winter of 1968 at the Morosco Theatre. Since then the play has had four Broadway revivals and has been honored with accolades and awards including two Tony wins.

Now this story of sibling rivalry, family obligations, jealousy, envy and the attempt to settle scores and heal scars from long ago has come to Long Beach’s International City Theatre.

Directed with hoary elegance by John Henry Davis, with a stunningly evocative scenic design by Yuri Okahana; credible costuming by Kim DeShazo; indispensable property designs by Patty and Gordon Briles; and with appropriate sound and lighting designs by Dave Mickey and Dan Weingarten, respectively — this ICT production of “The Price” is brought to life by a four member cast, which includes David Nevell as Victor Franz; Eylse Mirto as Esther Franz; Bo Foxworth as Walter Franz; and Tony Abatemarco as Gregory Solomon — all of whom carve meticulous portrayals of Miller’s complex characters.

Victor is a New York City police sergeant who dropped out of college and sacrificed his ambition to be a science professional in order to care for his ailing, aged father who was financially devastated due to the Great Depression some four decades earlier. Meanwhile, Walter, Victor’s brother went on to complete medical school and became a successful physician. Victor, along with his wife Esther, has returned to the home of the deceased father to have the estate — all of which is stored in an attic space and includes mostly mundane items such as couches, tables, chairs, etc. — appraised and purchased.

Victor has enlisted a 90 year-old furniture dealer, Gregory Solomon, to do the assessment and, hopefully, make the purchase. After making several attempts to contact Walter by phone, Victor proceeds with the appraisal process, until Walter does arrive and disrupts the procedures. Each of the four characters have their own motivations and agenda, making the dramatic conflict complex and profound.

This family drama has the power of such primal tragedies as Sophocles’s Oedipus; after all, it was Arthur Miller who coined the term “Tragedy of the Common Man” in his 1949 essay of the same title. “The Price” explores the cost of family obligations, deceit, the value of forgiveness and the tragedy of misguided sacrifice.

“The Price” continues through May 26 at the International City Theatre. ICT is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 East Seaside Way, Long Beach, 90802. Evening performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are on Sunday at 2 p.m. For reservations call (562) 436-4610. For online ticketing and further information visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

ben@beachcomber.news

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