Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"All My Sons" in Redding is marvelous material and strong acting

We went to see the Riverfront Playhouse's production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" this weekend. Riverfront is in Redding and where I did 'Steel Magnolias' in 2009.

It was easily the best play we've seen in the North State, including the touring companies that come to Redding. The acting was simply stellar -- there was not a weak link in the cast. The set was creative and detailed, moreso than many we've seen.

But you just can't beat the core material. Arthur Miller wrote this play back in 1947, some 63+ years ago, and it still stands up to scrutiny. It's period-specific in the plot line, but not in the message, which is universal and timeless.

We've seen a lot of plays at Riverfront in the last few years (and are sorry we missed out on so many since we've lived here), and honestly some of them should not have ever seen a spotlight. It's not the acting -- there are some excellent actors in this neck of the woods -- but the material.

As do so many community theaters, this one tries to put butts in seats to keep funds coming in. Not only are there the monthly bills to pay, but the theater is still raising funds for the new theater which has been purchased but needs major renovation before the first curtain is raised. Other groups in the area are helping, but it's always a major task, especially in these hard times, and northern CA has been hard-hit with the loss of construction-related jobs as well as others.

But this play should show the governing board that not only is there an audience for drama, good drama, but classic plays -- good, solid, engaging literature that challenges both the actors and the audiences. The actors in this production are mostly new to the area and are wonderfully talented. If you put it out there, the talent will appear. It did. It will. And I hope we see more like this.

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