A melodramatic rendition

In Arthur Miller's drama, truths don't hurt, they destroy.

All my Sons production 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
All my Sons production 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
All My Sons By Arthur Miller Translated by Yosef El-Dror Directed by Moshe Naor
Cameri/Haifa Theaters
Lily Ben-Nachshon’s naturalistic backyard set is lovely – you can almost hear the birds singing in the trees. Ran Bagno’s plaintive music haunts. Hanni Vardi’s insinuating lighting adds depth – just about the only depth this production has.
Unfortunately, director Moshe Naor’s All My Sons comes off as an overwrought melodrama in which most of the participants are acting with a capital A.
The classic Greek drama and Henrik Ibsen influenced All My Sons, Arthur Miller’s first big hit. Directed by Elia Kazan, it premiered on Broadway in 1947 to critical and audience acclaim.
It’s a story of fathers and sons, a story of avoidance, denial and the inevitable price to be paid.
Joe Keller (played by Natan Datner) – the name isn’t a coincidence because he’s an ordinary “joe,” or guy – is a selfmade man who has achieved success for himself and his family by hard work.
His is the American Dream manifested.
Except that this American Dream is a nightmare.
The play opens in 1946, the morning after a storm that has blown down the apple tree the Kellers planted when their eldest son, Larry, was reported missing in action, believed killed. Even after three and a half years, his mother, Kate (Liora Rivlin), refuses to believe he is dead.
The fractured apple tree is a metaphor for the structural faults in the lives of this so-typical American family that the drama mercilessly reveals.
Amiable, ambitious Joe has let his former partner, Steve Deever, take the rap when the cracked cylinder heads that their factory knowingly supplied to the Air Force in World War II caused the deaths of 21 pilots. That and other truths begin to emerge reluctantly, albeit inevitably, when Steve’s daughter Annie (Netta Garti) arrives at the Keller home.
Miller’s taut drama tears these from each of the characters, like duct tape torn from skin. These truths don’t just hurt, they destroy.
Foreknowledge hampers Naor’s production. It’s as if the actors are saying. “Right! Now we’ve got to the bit where…” and trot out the rehearsed response. Additionally, neither they nor the director seem to realize how deep – especially at that time – is the Americans’ belief in the American Dream, the validity of which All My Sons and later Death of a Salesman attack.
As naïve, bubbly neighbor Lydia, Kineret Limoni comes closest to her character. Ohad Knoller as Chris Keller and Ishay Golan as George Deever have moments of truthfulness as does Netta Garti as his sister Annie. The others? I’m sorry, but they leave us with nothing.
For tickets, call (03) 606-0960 for the Cameri Theater or (04) 860-0500 for Haifa Municipal Theatre.