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All My Sons Study Guide


When the young playwright Arthur Miller started composing All My Kids, he was starting a project that would be either the start or completion of his profession. His very first and only play to be produced on Broadway, The Man Who Had All the Luck, was an unmitigated failure, lasting just four efficiencies. An useful guy who had actually lived through the anxiety, Miller chose to provide himself another opportunity. If he did not have success with his next play, then he would quit the business and discover “another profession.”

In the meantime, Tennessee Williams had actually met terrific success with The Glass Menagerie in 1945, a really personal and psychological have fun with poetic overtones. Miller’s plays, on the other hand, are public works, with uncomplicated (though not unpoetic) language, and which address problems of the individual’s public personality and how individuals act. However he learned from Williams’s success and set out to write a more business play, a drama that would “land” with audiences, in the language of the Broadway business. He likewise selected to write a play in a sensible style, an issue play in the manner of Henrik Ibsen, evoking a style he had actually not used in several years. The work of Ibsen affected All My Children structurally too, for Ibsen had actually freely used the concept of Greek theater that stresses the impact of the past on the present.

When the play was ended up after 5 years of work, Miller asked his representative to send it to the director Elia Kazan. A former member of the Communist Party, Kazan had directed Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, and he would later direct the genre-redefining A Streetcar Called Desire and Death of a Salesperson (and would win Academy Awards for Gentleman’s Agreement and On the Waterside). Kazan’s profession was stained in memory, however, and his relationship with Miller was permanently severed when he chose to call names for your house Un-American Activities Commission during the Red Scare. However at the time, as a successful director with a skill for eliciting significant efficiencies from his actors, and as somebody who shared Miller’s leftist politics, Kazan was the best option for All My Children. The cast included such rising stars as Ed Begley (as Keller, later on of Inherit the Wind), Arthur Kennedy (as Chris, later on developer of the roles of Biff Loman and John Proctor), and Karl Malden (as George, later on of Tram, Tea and Sympathy, and On The Waterfront).

Thankfully for Miller and for the American stage, All My Sons was a success. Opening at the Coronet Theatre on January 29, 1947, the first night’s notifications were blended– with the vital exception of the New York City Times, whose Brooks Atkinson admired Miller as a real new skill. As typical, the Times evaluation swayed all the others, and All My Sons ran for 328 efficiencies (quite respectable at that time) and won the New york city Drama Critics’ Circle award for finest play of 1947, beating out Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (which at the time had been coolly gotten and would only become a landmark of American drama in retrospection).

Miller’s success offered him financial stability, self-confidence, and the verification of Miller’s identity as a playwright. This success was needed for him to take a danger with his next work, Death of a Salesperson.

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