Tuesday, September 26, 2023

‘Death of a Salesman’ comes to PSUC

The play “Death of a Salesman” will be presented by Saranac Lake‘s Pendragon Theatre on Oct. 8 at Hartman Theatre in the Myers Fine Arts building.

The play will be directed by Bonnie Brewer, director for Pendragon Theatre.

Brewer said she couldn’t be more blessed to have such a great cast. “They enjoy doing it despite the heaviness of the material. They just do an amazing job,” Brewer said.

The cast, all locals of the North Country, includes John Nicholson, Kathy Recchia, Brendan Gotham, Dylan Duffy, Jordan Hornstein, Eric Worthington, Steven Hebert, Harrison Ewing, Olivia Zeis, McCayla Quinn, Danielle LaMere and Leslie Dame.

“I think our director is amazing. The woman never rests and has many, many skills and talents,” Kathleen Recchia, who is playing Linda Lohman in the play, said. Recchia stated that it was her first official Pendragon production.

“Death of a Salesman” was written by American playwright and prominent figure, Arthur Miller. It was a 1949 Pulitzer Prize and  it is a Tony Award winning classic. It follows the life of 63-year-old salesman Willy Lohman and his struggle to hold on to the American dream.

“It is often referred to as the modern American tragedy because it sort of changes the idea from tragedy to something that happens to someone of high status to something that happens to the common man,” Kim Hartshorn, head of the theater department at Plattsburgh State, said.

“It’s a very good play, but it’s a bit complex,” she said.

The play is well-known for themes such as abandonment, betrayal and pride.

“Even though some things are dated, and dated doesn’t mean that these things should be overlooked, they are part of our cultural history — the American Dream theme. It still echoes among us today, and the characters the author has created still live among us,” Recchia said.

Laura-Jean Schwartau, a theater teacher and a fellow member of the Pendragon Theatre company, said the play is something she suggests students see because it’s a play that can relate to people to this day.

“Back when this was written, there were very little social programs. You would just let someone go. I think it’s about coming together as a society and it’s about the dynamics of the family,” Schawartau said.

These themes are what inspired actresses like Recchia to want to be part of the play.

“It is a classic that has universal themes — personally as well as culturally. So many of us have a Willy Loman in our lives,” Recchia said.

This isn’t the first time the Pendragon Theatre has done a play at PSUC. Last December, the company put on the Greek play Oedipus. The company tours around the area putting on performances for schools in order to entertain students based in the Adirondacks.

“When they come here, they send out invitations for the local schools to come and see a performance during the day. Part of our mission in the use of the Student Association funds is to provide theatrical events for the campus. We do some of those ourselves, but we also try to bring in outside events as well,” Hartshorn said.

“It’s extremely cathartic. Even though it can be overwhelming and sad, it is exhilarating and exhausting and such a powerful piece to be part of.

The whole cast and crew has created a dynamic work that brims with pathos and real-life, three-dimensional characters. It is an honor to work with the whole DOS family,” Recchia said.

Email Cierra Patterson at cierra.patterson@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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