“After the Fall” : A Production History

“After the Fall”
Production History

First Production

Opened in New York City January 23rd, 1964.

Director: Elia Kazan

Notable Actors:  Jason Robards (Quentin), Barbara Loden (Maggie), Fay Dunaway (nurse), Hal Holbrook (Harley Barnes)

Critical Response:

(Miller on general critical response)  I was soon widely hated, but the play had spoken its truth as, after all, it was obliged to do, and if truth was clothed in pain, perhaps it was important for the audience to confront it uncomfortably and even in anger of denial.  In time, and with much difficulty, I saw the justification for the hostility toward me, I had indeed brought very bad news.

1974 Film

Produced as a television production

Director: Gilbert Cates

Notable Actors: Christopher Plummer (Quentin), Faye Dunaway (Maggie), Brooke Shields (Quentin’s daughter)

Critical Response:

(user comment) Christopher Plummer, Faye Dunaway, Bibi Anderson, all at the top of their game. A truly great production of a deep, complex, understated work of art, by one of the greatest, if not *the* greatest American playwright of the 20th century. Tackles head-on how our lives become entangled in the personal and political turmoil of our families, our selves, and others, all against the backdrop of terrible times and governmental moral bankruptcy. Miller shines a light to help show the way out. Amazing. A shame that this beautiful Gilbert Cates production has not received the acclaim it deserves. It really should be released on DVD. Now more than ever.

1984 Production

Staged at Playhouse 91in New York

Director: John Tillinger

Notable Actors: Frank Langella (Quentin), Dianne Weist (Maggie)

Critical Response:

That success may have come in part because Mr. Langella, Miss Wiest and the director John Tillinger confronted, even embraced, the disquieting nature of the play. Mr. Langella’s Quentin and Miss Wiest’s Maggie emerge less as heroes or victims than as complex beings – wounded and wounding, vulnerable and self-absorbed.

2001 Los Angeles

Produced at The Fountain Theatre

Director: Stephen Sachs

Notable Actors: Tracy Middendorf (Maggie) & Morlan Higgins (Quentin)

Critical Response:

Stephen Sachs has deftly pruned the text and its monologues so that every word falls with maximum effect. Miller uses interjections from other characters to underline the action by recalling who said that to Quentin before and, in this memory play, Sachs sets his people behind screens from which the lines land dead center. Sachs comes up with an underlining of his own by dressing the two women of whom Maggie is jealous in red, the color of sin. He also subtly moderates a play that could deteriorate into shouting, abetted by a fine cast.

2004 Revival

Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City

Director: Michael Mayer

Notable Actors: Peter Krause (Quentin) & Carla Gugino (Maggie)

Critical Response:

Here, though, Krause thrives solely on detached annoyance and anger, becoming very one-note (and quickly tiring) onstage. His voice, too, ideal for the close perspective of the screen, lacks the palette of colors necessary to communicate complex emotions (and lengthy speeches) in a Broadway house. Krause also fails to make the vital connections needed to bring Quentin’s character to believable life; the stock market crash of 1929, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and the German concentration camps are all vital in his development, yet are never made relevant here. Everything seems to burst onto the stage – and thus Quentin’s memory – haphazardly.


3 Responses

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