Socialist Worker

Death of a Salesman - chasing dreams in a society that produces nightmares

by Conor Cooley
Issue No. 2627

Don Warrington plays Willy Loman

Don Warrington plays Willy Loman


Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller has always been a very popular play.

This new production in Manchester focuses on the idea of “the American dream”.

The play is centred on the hard-working salesman Willy Loman, who has always dreamed of making it big.

He believes that if he works hard, is “well liked”, and finds “the secret”, then he will be the salesman he wants to be.

Further, he will be a good role model for his sons and set them off on the right path.

Played out on a circular stage, the audience gets the sense that Willy feels surrounded by others.

As conflicts develop on stage, the world slowly closes in on him.

Contradicts

This only serves to make him clutch onto his aspirations ever more tightly, to the extent that he refuses to even acknowledge anything that contradicts them.

There are many flashbacks, and Willy always seems to have exactly the same problem.

He is envious of the lives of others who are more successful and believes they have simply found an elusive secret he hasn’t.

These will be familiar feelings to people of all ages, as even children are pitted against one another.

As it becomes clearer that his dream is merely a fantasy, Willy desperately searches for a way to make his mark on the world.

He realises that the system has failed him and remarks that “you end up worth more dead than alive”.

At Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester until 18 November. For tickets and more information, go to royalexchange.co.uk

Broken Politics

Neneh Cherry continues to defy categorisation with her latest album, Broken Politics.

Produced by Four Tet, and featuring the likes of 3D from Massive Attack on the moving track Kong, this is a strong piece of work.

Cherry takes aim at gun violence and other issues. And her voice is as distinctive and urgent as it has ever been.

It’s a shame it doesn’t feature more often on the record.

Available to download and buy on CD and vinyl

Courage Everywhere

To mark the 100th anniversary of some women in Britain gaining the right to vote, the National Theatre is hosting a series of rehearsed readings, talks and screenings.

National Theatre, London SE1 9PX

Go to bit.ly/Cevery


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