"All My Sons" is a powerful condemnation of greed and its associated lack of moral responsibility. The play takes place in post World War II middle-America and tells the story of Joe Keller, a successful, self-made family man who has done a terrible and tragic thing. During the war, Joe's factory was responsible for shipping faulty airplane parts overseas, leading to the deaths of 21 American servicemen. Although initially incarcerated for the crime, Joe engineers his own exoneration, placing the full blame on his business partner, who remains in jail. Now Joe's son, Chris, is about to marry Ann, the jailed man's daughter, who had once been engaged to Joe's younger son, Larry, a pilot who went missing three years earlier. This is unacceptable to Kate Keller, Joe's wife, who refuses to concede the possibility that Larry is dead. Lies are unraveled, secrets revealed, and the play ends in a climactic night of reckoning.
"'All My Sons' has as much to say now as it did back in 1947, when it first premiered," says the play's guest director, Susan Hardie. "While America still grapples with issues of war and economic depression, the play's themes of morality and conscience resonate in this age of unchecked greed and lack of accountability. Miller's rich and complex characters are both challenging and rewarding for young actors, and I am thoroughly enjoying my work with this talented cast and crew."
This is Hardie's directorial debut at Whitworth. The recent retirement of theatre department chair Rick Hornor opened up space to invite occasional guest directors into its directing rotation, says Diana Trotter, professor of theatre and the department's current chair.
"We think it's a great opportunity for students to work with directors outside the department so they are exposed to different styles," says Trotter. "We asked Susan to join us as a guest director because she has an excellent and well-deserved reputation as a director in our region. I've worked with her on several shows at the Civic Theatre, so I know the quality of her work, and I know what a delightful person she is to work with. I've always admired her as a director and I'm thrilled to have her here working with our students."
Hardie has attended nearly every main stage show at Whitworth for the last 10 years, and has been impressed with the high quality of work shown by the theatre department's students and faculty. Her husband, Peter Hardie, has designed scenery and lights for Whitworth productions for many years.
Written by famed playwright Arthur Miller, "All My Sons" debuted in 1947 on Broadway at New York City's Coronet Theatre, where it ran for 328 performances. The same year, the show won Broadway's Tony Award for Best Author (later to be called Best Play). The play has since been adapted into two films, in 1948 and 1987, as well as into adaptations for radio and television. Broadway revived the show in 2008, and more Broadway performances of the play have been produced nearly every year since. Miller's other popular plays include "Death of a Salesman" (1949), "The Crucible" (1953), and "An Enemy of the People" (1950), based on Henrik Ibsen's play of the same name.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Jennifer Toulouse-Lee, program assistant, theatre department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or email@example.com.