What’s On: Death of a Salesman (Queensland Theatre)


Queensland Theatre will open their 2019 Season of Dreamers with the play that defined the 20th Century – Arthur Miller’s award-winning classic, Death of a Salesman. I have two double passes to give away to the preview performance on February 11 – head over to Instagram for your chance to win.

As the death-rattle of American optimism echoes through the land of the Free Market, travelling salesman Willy Loman loses himself in the halcyon haze of the past.  Once the king of the road, Willy is veering off it. There was a time when Willy could sell anyone anything, and his reward was the whole package: wife, two sons, the car, the white picket fence. But now he’s feeling his years. He’s behind on the mortgage, he’s sidelined by his wet-behind-the-ears boss, and the final straw is when his adult son Biff – once a sporting prodigy, now a directionless disappointment – lands on the doorstep, further loosening Willy’s grip on the reality of his broken-down life.

Willy Loman is one of the most iconic American characters and has been played by legends of the stage and screen including Dustin Hoffman, Brian Dennehy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Lloyd. Leading the star-studded cast for QT’s production is highly accomplished Australian actor of stage and screen, Peter Kowitz.

QT Artistic Director Sam Strong said that he regards Death of a Salesman as one of the greatest plays ever written. “It is a timeless meditation on the need to feel special, a withering commentary on capitalism, and a tragic portrait of a fallout between father and son. It’s a powerhouse start to season 2019,” he said. “It is also one of the most profoundly affecting experiences you can have in a theatre. It is an incredible vehicle for actors and we are thrilled to welcome back Brisbane native Peter Kowitz who has the perfect combination of vulnerability and bluster to bring the famous Willy Loman to life.”

“The story is rich with applications to modern-day happenings, testament to the writing of Arthur Miller,” agrees director Jason Klarwein. “Seventy years after the play was written, many of its themes still ring true. Arthur Miller saw what happened to people in The Great Depression.  He saw how large companies and banks exploited the working classes. He died before the recent global financial crisis but in that case, large companies were largely bailed out by the US government whereas the people who lost their houses and livelihoods were not. We’ve just had a banking royal commission in Australia so local audiences will be very familiar with these themes.”

Death of a Salesman runs from February 9 to March 2 at the Playhouse, QPAC. For ticketing and further information, visit Queensland Theatre’s website.

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