‘All My Sons’ brings RPP and Lit. Forum together again

December 2, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

The Royal Palm Players, Boca Grande’s own theater company, is very excited about reviving their collaboration with the Literature Forum to present a dramatic reading of Arthur Miller’s award-winning play, ‘All My Sons.’
For more than 10 years the two groups worked together to present readings of classic plays like ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ ‘A View from the Bridge’ and ‘Suddenly Last Summer.’
After a six-year hiatus, the Lit Forum approached RPP about restarting the program, and RPP jumped at the opportunity. Stephanie Firman, current co-chair of the Lit Forum, got things moving along. “The Literature Forum is so pleased to reinstate this collaborative tradition of highlighting high drama on the stage as well as on the written page!” she says. “We are all looking forward to the first performance.”
Alice Gorman, long-time member of both organizations, noted the original purpose for the collaboration between the two groups: introducing great drama as great literature. It serves both organizations by providing a live performance venue for Literature Forum participants, while offering RPP volunteers an opportunity to act in a serious drama that would not normally be considered for a seasonal production.
“A dramatic reading is a theater piece where the actors sit at a table (or in a half-round) and read and interpret the play,” says Meryl Schaffer, artistic director at RPP. “It’s really challenging for actors to be limited to using only their voices to tell the story. And ‘All My Sons’ has an amazing story.”
Joe Keller is a self-made man. Born on the “wrong side of the tracks,” with street smarts and a winning salesman’s smile, he worked his whole life to build a successful manufacturing company that was commissioned to build airplane parts for the war effort. His youngest son, Chris, returned from WWII a war hero. His eldest son, Larry, did not return at all. Opening on Broadway in 1947, ‘All My Sons’ garnered Tony awards for both Best Author (Miller) and Best Director (Elia Kazan). Even though the play was based on a true story, Miller’s look at the underside of the American dream contributed to his being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s.
Director and veteran RPP actor Dan Headington has assembled an exceptional cast for the dramatic reading. “I am impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment this experienced cast brings to the production.” Dan says. ‘All My Sons’ is a gripping play that provides the actors with an opportunity to stretch themselves artistically. This is sure to be a great audience pleaser.”
Jim Sullivan, president of RPP, noted, “Even though it’s a period piece from the 40s, it’s remarkable how relevant this show is today. With its themes of love, betrayal and greed, ‘All My Sons’ still speaks to a contemporary audience.” Jim is reading the featured role of Joe Keller in ‘All My Sons.’ RPP and the Literature Forum are presenting Arthur Miller’s ‘All My Sons’ on Friday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. in the BGCC auditorium.
Tickets are free and seating is general admission. Don’t miss it!