The Stage: A father’s death stirs up old hostilities in Arthur Miller’s The Price

Siblings reunite after their after there father’s death in The Pricephoto by Adam Burke

The Price

Old Creamery Theatre — May 29 – June 15

In the aftermath of a parent’s death, one of the most daunting tasks for surviving children is dealing with the deceased’s earthly possessions. Conflict can escalate between siblings when sorting out beloved family heirlooms, and in Arthur Miller’s The Price, old tensions surface when the main characters reunite after their father’s death.

Victor and Walter Franz are estranged brothers who chose opposite paths in life. Victor gave up higher education to care for their destitute father, while Walter pursued a lucrative career as a surgeon. After their father’s death, Walter returns just as Victor is arranging to sell their father’s furniture. Together for the first time in 16 years, the brothers struggle with their relationship and societal expectations of success, as secrets about their father come to light.

A continuation of themes previously explored in Death of a Salesman, the original 1968 Broadway production of The Pricepremiered to mixed reviews from critics who felt the need to compare it to Miller’s seminal work. That didn’t stop it from running for 429 performances and garnering a Tony nomination for best play. Three years later, NBC adapted the play for TV, a production that earned George C. Scott an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Victor.

Compared to Miller’s more famous works, The Price is rarely performed today. Take advantage of the opportunity to see a lesser-known work of one of the best American playwrights that is raw in its examination of siblings who are forced to size each other up.