AFTER THE FALL to Open Aux Dog Theatre's 10th Anniversary Season
Opening Aux Dog Theatre Nob Hill's Tenth Anniversary Season on September 8 and running until October 1 is Arthur Miller's AFTER THE FALL.
Miller is considered one of the great American Playwrights, along with Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill. Among his best-known plays are his most frequently produced work, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge and, of course, Death of a Salesman, a landmark of 20th-century drama which won the triple crown of theatrical artistry: The New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Tony Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.
And then there is AFTER THE FALL. It is considered his most personal play as it is his self critique following his divorce from the world-famous Marilyn Monroe and his response to McCarthyism and the betrayal of his colleagues during this 1950s Communist witch hunt. Directed by James Cady, no stranger to Miller having directed All My Sons at the Adobe Theater and Death of a Salesman at the Vortex Theatre. This production stars Peter Shea Kierst (Iago in "Othello" at Aux Dog) as 'Quentin' and Sheridan K. Johnson (Vanda in "Venus in Furs" at Aux Dog) as 'Maggie.'
"It is no secret that Quentin is Miller and Maggie is Monroe," says Cady, "even though Miller himself insisted it was no more biographical than anything else he wrote. The presence of the character Maggie is so clearly the ultimate female sex symbol and icon that was Marilyn Monroe, his ex-wife. She had died two years before the play opened in 1964."
In the play, Quentin is courting Holga, a German woman still struggling with her experiences during World War II. He questions his own ability to truly connect with the women in his life as he tries to decide the future of their relationship. The scenes with Holga take place in the present. However, the memories of his mother, father, brother, clients, partners and friends reassert themselves in his mind where most of the play occurs. They recede and re-emerge as Quentin proceeds from one thought/memory to another in a stream-of-consciousness. The most prominent memory is of his second wife, Maggie, and the dissolution of their marriage. Quentin understands that after the fall from Eden, no one is innocent and, finally, all we are left with are questions - and memories that haunt us forever.
Miller met Monroe in 1951 at a Hollywood party. Monroe, the struggling, richly ambitious young actress, and Miller, the bold young voice of American theater, seemed to bond immediately. In the end Miller captured Monroe's heart and she his mind. The press dubbed them "The Egghead and the Hourglass."
They married in 1956 and divorced four years later in 1961 just as the film Miller wrote as a gift for Monroe premiered, The Misfits. Miller married his third wife, Inge Morath, (a German woman), and six months later, Monroe was found dead of a drug overdose.
Shortly after their marriage, Miller was called before the House committee on Un-American Activities to testify. Unlike his former friend and the director of his first successes, Elia Kazan who named names, Miller was offered a deal by Francis Walter, the Committee chairman: if Miller agreed to have Monroe pose with Walters for a campaign poster he would cancel the hearing. Miller refused and didn't name names which led to him being found in contempt of Congress. After a lengthy appeals trial, a judge overturned the contempt conviction.
Cady notes, "This is the story of a man who must move past his memories to accept the love of a new woman in his life, Holga. To achieve this, he must do battle with the ghosts of his past. He has to get beyond his guilt and the relationships that haunt and plague him, including the betrayal of family and friends." The play implies a search for understanding of "responsibility" toward Monroe, of her inability to cope, and of his failure to help her. "But more than that, says Cady, "he must deal with the ultimate question - Can anyone ever help anyone, anywhere---anymore?"
The cast is Albuquerque's finest: Peter Shea Kierst, Sheridan K. Johnson, Georgia Athearn, Fabianna Borghese, Ronda Lewis, Michelle Volpe Roe, Philip J. Shortell, Gerry Sullivan, Matthew Van Wettering, Sara Werner and Stephen Zamora.
The Aux Dog Theatre Nob Hill is located at 3011 Monte Vista Blvd. NE. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 pm and Sunday matinees are at 2 pm. Friday, September 8, all tickets are $5. Saturday, September 9, and Sunday, September 10, all tickets are $15. For the following three weekends, tickets prices range from $20-10. Tickets can be purchased at www.auxdogtheatre.org or by phone at (505) 254-7716. Email at email@example.com.
Plus, Aux Dog Theatre Nob Hill and P'tit Louis Bistro (3218 Silver SE) are offering a Dinner or Brunch Theater Package. A special fixed-priced $20 dinner menu has been created for those attending a Friday or Saturday night performance of AFTER THE FALL. To take advantage of this dining event, first buy a ticket for the performance. Then call P'tit Louis Bistro at (505) 314-1110 and make your reservation. But make sure it is no later than 6:30pm. For Sunday Brunch, along with the regular $20 menu, ticket holders get either a free glass of wine, a mimosa or a glass of champagne. But make sure your reservation is no later than noon. And bring your ticket to show to your server.