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Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013

APT’s ‘All My Sons’

Dark secrets in a jubilant America

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American Players Theatre does best what it loves most—exploring classic drama that offers a breadth and depth of intellect and emotion. This season one of APT’s best productions is Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, which opened Saturday at the Spring Green Up-the-Hill Amphitheater.

Miller’s 1947 play, which chronicles a dark secret held by the prosperous Keller family in a jubilant post-World War II America, was based on a true story. Over a 24-hour period in a summery backyard somewhere in Wisconsin the family’s façade disintegrates as the truth behind that secret is revealed.

Director William Brown coaxes strong performances from his principals, especially Jonathan Smoots as patriarch Joe Keller and Sarah Day as his wife, Kate, a woman in deep denial over the death of her son Larry, classified as MIA during the war. Marcus Truschinski delivers his best performance to date as the remaining son, Chris, an idealist seasoned by his own war experiences.

Parallels in structure and characterization to Death of a Salesman, Miller’s better-known work written in 1949, are undeniable. But the author’s questioning of the American Dream, and the price paid to preserve it, cuts even more deeply here. All My Sons is a drama felt as well as understood, and its lesson may leave lasting marks.

APT’s All My Sons runs through Sept. 28. For tickets, call 608-588-2361 or visit americanplayers.org.

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