Company of Ten’s The Price at Abbey Theatre, St Albans

10:56 23 January 2014

The Price

The Price

Archant

Director Rosemary Goodman is confident The Price is right in the Abbey Theatre Studio where The Company of Ten is rehearsing for its upcoming production of one of Arthur Miller’s lesser-known plays.

Set in 1968, The Price is a tense psychological drama centring on the relationship between two estranged brothers who meet in the attic of a Manhattan brownstone, years after they last met, to go through the belongings of their deceased father.

But the real price in question is not the value of the items they’ve inherited but the legacy of the past.

Rosemary explained: “At first, one might think the play is simply about how much an attic full of furniture is worth. It is only as the action unfolds that we start to understand the tension, bitterness and resentment that has grown between the brothers. The price of the furniture is nothing compared to the heavy price of their past choices.”

The Price draws heavily on Miller’s own experiences as a young man. Like the father in the play, his father lost everything when the Great Depression hit and he too had a difficult relationship with his older brother, Kermit, though he always denied the brothers in the story were based on them.

On the other hand, the character of the 89-year-old antiques dealer – who provides the play with a rich vein of humour – was definitely inspired by a real person. Rosemary said: “The character is based on a Jewish-Russian dealer called Boris, who Miller met when discussing furniture for the set of the Broadway production of The Price.”

She described the set of the play as almost another character. “Miller is very prescriptive about what the audience needs to see, so creating the set was a daunting task. But by following his detailed stage instructions, our talented designer and backstage crew have managed to create the claustrophobic atmosphere of an attic that is ‘monstrously crowded and dense’ with heavy furniture.”

Performances take place at 8pm from tonight (Thursday) until Saturday (25), at 2.30pm on Sunday, January 26, and at 8pm from next Wednesday, January 29, until Saturday, February 1.

To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.

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