The Union Recorder

September 26, 2013

Georgia College theatre department opens season with ‘Death of a Salesman’


GCSU Communications

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Georgia College theatre department opens its 2013 fall season with Arthur Miller’s classic tragedy “Death of a Salesman.”

Guest Director Iona Holder faces a daunting challenge to make the 1949 play resonate with a 2013 audience.

“Our production will not be like any other production because I don’t want it to be,” said Holder, who considers the play one of the 10 best American dramas of all time.

 “Death of a Salesman” is the story of Willy Loman, a salesman toiling to pursue his perception of the American dream while giving pep talks to his sons in their Brooklyn home.

Willy’s oldest son, Biff, undergoes an identity crisis in the play. He accepts his failure, unlike his father and younger brother, and eventually manages to confront it. Happy Loman, Biff’s younger brother, is the incarnation of Willy’s worst traits. Willy’s long-suffering wife serves as the emotional rock of the Loman family throughout his struggles.

The play has won several awards including the Pulitzer Prize and four Tony Awards.

Sixty-four years after it was written, the heartrending story endures, Holder said, because many people will be able to connect with the different aspects of the play including family relationships and financial troubles.

“I hope to provoke the audience’s thoughts and inspire them with Willy’s tragic tale,” said Holder, who selected the play after originally considering a comedy. “I shocked everyone by wanting to do a classic play. I want to be more thought-provoking than entertaining.”

The 13-person cast includes one freshman and five sophomores and is one of the youngest casts Holder has ever selected.

“They are incredible,” Holder said. “They are comparable to actors in Atlanta. I’ve been here for eight years, and I find that the more you expect from someone, the more they will be able to deliver.”

Willy, played by senior John Underwood, is the play’s main character. Underwood has previously performed in Georgia College productions of “Hamlet” and “Doubt.”

“He is eating, drinking, sleeping and breathing this play and putting so much into such a complex character,” Holder said.

Curtis Stallings, a sophomore transfer student from Columbus State University, plays Biff. This will be Stallings’ first main stage show at Georgia College.

Senior David Dingess composed original music for the production. Faculty members Frani Geiger and Beate Czogalla designed the set and lights.

The performances will be in Russell Auditorium on Georgia College’s historic campus Oct. 2 through Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. with a matinee show Sunday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 for general admission, $10 for Georgia College faculty/staff and $5 for Georgia College students.

Tickets can be purchased at www.gcsutickets.com.

For more information, call 478-445-4226.

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