Monday, May 28, 2012

Death of a Salesman's Audience

Interesting article by Lee Siegel in the New York Times detailing how the U.S. economy has become so stagnant for all but the wealthy and theater ticket prices have got so expensive that the (lower ) middle class depicted in Arthur Miller's great play 'Death of a Salesman' can mostly no longer afford to go and see it. A shame for many reasons, not the least of which I'd imagine Phillip Seymour Hoffman would make a great Willy Loman.

From the article:

Certainly few middle-class people, or at least anyone from any “middle class” that Loman would recognize, are among the audiences attending this production. What was once a middle-class entertainment has become a luxury item. Tickets for the original run, in 1949, cost between $1.80 and $4.80; tickets for the 2012 run range from $111 to $840. After adjusting for inflation, that’s a 10-fold increase, well beyond the reach of today’s putative Willy Lomans.

Tickets aren't exactly cheap in New Zealand either, even without the stellar casts. It is rare that I go to the theater, as I usually do the maths in my head about what other books/films I could enjoy for the price of the ticket. Nevertheless, live theater is still a unique environment in which to absorb story.

I'd image in terms of quality of content, Death of a Salesman will be performed forever, but will there be anyone much left who can afford to see it.

Read the full article here.

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