Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd calls it a role requiring the stamina of ''an athlete.'' Veteran company actor James Black calls it ''a humbling monster of a role.'' ''It'' is playing Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman, currently at the Alley. Boyd says that while there is never a bad time to revive the play written in 1949, ''It is so strongly relevant now, and it shows itself to be, unlike any other play I could name, a deep dream inside our collective American psyche. We are a nation of strivers, we're ambitious; the culture encourages us to measure ourselves by how much money we have. Now, in the throes of financial crises and millions out of work and millions in foreclosure, it surely hits us very hard.''
Black said he's never taken on any of the roles in the story of a man fired after 36 years of loyalty to one company, but as Alley audiences know, he's acted in several other Miller plays including The Crucible and After the Fall. Boyd said Black was perfect for the lead because ''he’s not an actor afraid of big roles.'' As for Black: ''For a stage actor, it’s one of those defining mountain peaks, that if you’re lucky, you’ll get an attempt to scale.''
Please note the schedule for Death of a Salesman is not the usual Tuesday through Sunday schedule as with most Alley Theatre productions. Check with the theater's box office for the latest information.
Oct. 9-14; Wed., Oct. 17; Oct. 19-21; Oct. 23-28, 2012