Staging what Olympic Theatre Arts’ cast and directors call, “the pinnacle of American plays,” “Death of a Salesman” opens with performances starting on Friday, Feb. 8.
Written by Arthur Miller in 1949, “Death of a Salesman” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play that year.
The Sequim show is directed by Merv Wingard, who says the anniversary of this play falls on Feb. 10 during a Sunday performance.
Showtimes run from Friday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 24 at Caldwell Main Stage at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
Preview Night is Thursday, Feb. 7, Pay-What-You-Will Night is Thursday, Feb. 14, and Talk-Back Night is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Wingard says he’s acted in this play before and directed a Reader’s Theater version of it in the past. He believes the story of Willy Loman is important in today’s culture because it’s relatable to what people go through in life.
The story revolves around the character of Loman, a failing salesman, who doesn’t understand how he failed to win success and happiness in his life.
“(Loman’s) lost the meaning for his own life,” Wingard says. “ We want to make this play about real people.”
He describes the play as a “modern American tragedy” — similar to what people love about William Shakespeare’s tragedies “MacBeth” and “Hamlet.”
“We’re watching a person deteriorate, and at the same time an idea of what the solution is is right there,” Wingard says.
Hoffman is a newcomer to OTA’s stage and says this is his first time on stage in several years. In the past, he’s had experience performing in musicals.
The show gives an inside look at what’s going on in Loman’s mind as it’s crumbling and Hoffman says it can get a little dark.
“He’s very complicated,” Hoffman says. “He’s losing his dream and his mind is starting to deteriorate.”
Hoffman says the role is challenging with a lot of lines and playing a lead is a steep learning curve.
He is accompanied by a full cast on stage, including: Jennifer Horton cast as Linda Loman, Kelsi Chambers as Ms. Forsythe, Zach Mohlar as Bernard, Karen Reeder as The Woman (Willy’s extra-marital affair), Alison Cobb as both Letta and Jenny, Joe Schulz as Charley, Michael Sickles as Happy, Mark Valentine as Uncle Ben, Richard Stephens as Howard and Stanley, and Randy Powell as Biff.
The show also includes a complex display of lighting to convey the emotions and thoughts running through Loman’s mind. Experienced lighting technician Ron Coffman says he was thrilled to do the lights for this show, a production he said is “like the like Mona Lisa of theatre.”
He said, “If you ever get a chance to do (this play), you do it; it’s a dream show.”
Coffman says his main job for the show is to make sure the audience understands what is going on in the story from one scene to the next.
Tickets for the show are $18 for the general public, $16 for OTA members, and $12 for students (with school ID) available from 1-5 p.m. at the theater’s box office, 414 N. Sequim Ave. or online at www.olympictheatrearts.org.
For more information, call Olympic Theatre Arts at 360-683-7326.