I saw my old high school’s production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons tonight, and it was outstanding. It was the first real show by them, from the house (not as part of the cast/crew), in eight and a half years. I was a little apprehensive because, well, it’s high school theatre, and I’m used to professional theatre — and I no longer even recognize the names in the program (with the exception of my much-loved former theatre director and tech director’s son) — but I was truly impressed and proud. The set was fantastic (not that I would have expected any less, given that the tech director is brilliant), and the cast made me forget that they’re little high-schoolers (my frosh’s frosh and younger). The play itself also seemed very relevant.
I loved theatre in high school so much. One of the most upsetting parts of being at Bryn Mawr was that it was just too far away to come home for any of the shows, and between being in Pennsylvania and being in Chicago after college graduation, I never got to see any of my younger friends in their shows after my high school graduation. I happened to meet up with two of my old theatre frosh (now juniors in college), and seeing them just made the night even better.
I don’t want to spoil the play if you’ve not seen or read it, but it was intense. They pushed boundaries (and keep in mind that while I was in theatre, we did Nickel and Dimed and The Diary of Anne Frank). I don’t know if this is where anyone else’s mind went, but it definitely spoke to me about the harm that capitalism does and the violence of a punitive justice system. Countless lives have been ruined by the country’s economic and criminal legal systems. To me, All My Sons shows that clearly.