Rebirth of a Classic

Traveling Jewish Theatre doesn't rediscover the "Jewish essence" of Arthur Miller's play, but we won't kvetch about it too much

Miller once said: "To me the theater is not a disconnected entertainment ... It's the sound and the ring of the spirit of the people at any one time. It is where a collective mass of people, through the genius of some author, is able to project its terrors and its hopes and to symbolize them." Coming together to experience a deeply Jewish production of Salesman in Yiddish at a particular point in history, it's very possible that audiences at Buloff's 1951 production felt an ethnic connection to Miller's play. But to today's audiences, the Jewish reading feels superimposed upon the drama. Producers of the play need to find ways of making Miller's words speak to contemporary audiences instead of reaching into the past for inspiration.

Corey Fischer (center), Traveling Jewish Theatre's co-founder, stars as Willy Loman.
Ken Friedman
Corey Fischer (center), Traveling Jewish Theatre's co-founder, stars as Willy Loman.

Details

Through April 29, Tickets are $15-44; call 522-0786 or visit www.atjt.com.
Theater Artaud, 450 Florida St. (between 17th and 18th) S.F.

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It's a sign of the strength of TJT's creativity that the production somehow manages to rise above the artificiality of its premise. I'm not sold on this Jewish Salesman. The play's about as tied to the Talmud as is Madonna. But it speaks to us nonetheless.

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