Brooklyn Boy Made Good- Arthur Miller: Playwright, Public Intellectual, Human Being

Photo courtesy of Theatres de La Ville de Luxembourg
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Perusing upcoming performances at Theatre des Capucins, I noticed that there was what looked like an Arthur Miller rehearsed reading, but I didn’t quite grasp the concept. I contacted the PR department and enquired. They invited me to attend a rehearsal so that I could better understand and then inform our dear readers.

I have always been fascinated by the American playwright both as a writer and as a person. Married briefly to Marilyn Monroe, accused of being a communist and someone whose work spoke to me on a profound level, Miller is perhaps America’s greatest playwright of the 20th century. His plays examine fragility, vulnerability and an underlying paranoia. What exactly was this ‘Brooklyn Boy Made Good’ all about?

Folks, what I encountered was truly a beautiful dialogue among actors.

I was a bit intimidated as I was invited to sit at the table with the cast and director as they poured through selected works by Miller. What took place was not an academic debate but rather talented young actors experimenting and collaborating. They oscillated between characters, and I felt as though I was watching a gorgeous work of art take shape before me- beginning with the bare bones. There was no power struggle, no ego.

Instead, after each reading Director, Thierry Mousset, would ask the actors ‘What are you feeling?’

The cast would debate for a period which would lead to more questions: ‘What was going on in his life when he wrote this? How relevant is this piece to what is currently going on in our political climate?’ There were discussions about how it is also necessary to separate an artist from his work when deciding what should be in the final performance. Before my eyes, they unpacked and then attempted to piece together this incredible show which will be performed in two weeks, on the 25th and 26th of April.

The approach I witnessed was inspiring and the energy was palpable. It struck me how brave all of the actors were to take on such a socially engaging project which will combine excerpts from Miller’s autobiography, essays, open letters and interviews accompanied by live music. In the production, the majority hail from Luxembourg, yet speak perfect English. Only Isaac Bush is American by birth, which makes this production even more layered as they are performing works by an American who in his lifetime, found more success outside of his own country, thus questioning why we, (as the audience members), find ourselves in Luxembourg. I saw intelligent performers challenging each other and trying to make sense of characters who were wrestling with internal power struggles and defining what it means to have power. They engaged with compassion and laughter and the way they related to one another with such familiarity was awe inspiring. I was truly floored when I learned they had only been rehearsing for a matter of days- thus is the dedication to their craft and their immediate bond.

My witnessing their process brought to mind something Arthur Miller, himself, once said “The playwright is nothing without his audience. He is one of the audience who happens to know how to speak.”

I feel so lucky to have had a sneak peak at these actors breathing life into this playwright’s words. I anticipate great things from their performance.

Get your tickets here!

Cast: Isaac Bush, Elisabet Johannesdottir & Leila Schaus

Musicians: Claire Parsons & Margaux Vranken

Director: Thierry Mousset

Selection of texts: Marc Limpach

Production: Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg

Tuesday, 25th April at 8 PM & Wednesday, 26th April at 8 PM

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Meredith Moss

Meredith shot to fame at an early age, playing Jesus in her school play. It has been downhill from there. Needing gainful employment, she worked as a television producer in Los Angeles until she met her British husband in a seedy beach bar. An enthusiastic expat, she is a good cook, a bad parker and occasionally terrible mother.

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