Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem
Opening 24 September 2010
Death of a Salesman is one of the greatest American plays concerned with the state of a family during a time of crisis. Exhausted Willy Loman has been traveling salesman for the New York based Wagner Company for thirty-four years. His sons Biff and Happy are losers whose professional and personal lives are complete failures, although they had every opportunity to achieve success while they were young. Willy's wife Linda has been trying hard to smooth out the conflict between one of her sons and his father, and wants to persuade her sons to get permanent jobs. The Lomans' neighbors' son Bernard is a total opposite of Biff and Happy; he has never been well-liked, but has become a successful lawyer. Linda's attempts to persuade her sons to get permanent jobs end in their failure to do so.
Miller focuses on Willy Loman's illusions, dreams and failures, his anxiety, pangs of mind and complicated family relations with such poignancy that he ultimately becomes a tragic hero. The use of flashback technique enables Miller to present a detailed insight into a life of a family with all its ups and downs. At the same time, he exposes hopes, desires, dreams, lies and the inability to live up to the American dream, as well as many a delusion of a 20th-century individual. The play has successfully stood up the trial of time more than sixty years after its inception. It touches upon the destinies of many among us during our current time of recession.