Arthur Miller's Death of Saleman

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Arthur Miller's Death of Saleman On February 10, 1949, at the Morosco Theatre in New York, Death of a Salesman opened. It was immediately acclaimed as a perfect blend of script, setting, staging, and acting. The New Yorker called the play a mixture of "compassion, imagination, and hard technical competence not often found in our theater." Death of a Salesman swept the award field in 1949, winning the Drama Critics' Circle award, the Tony, Theatre Club, and Front Page awards, as well as the much-coveted Pulitzer Prize. Road companies took it on tour. European productions in translations played to full houses. The printed edition was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and set a sales record for plays in book form. The movie rights were snapped up, and for months it was the most popular play for college and amateur productions. In fact, Salesman was a triumph that Miller has not been able to repeat - whatever the success or the true merit of his later work. When you read this play, take special care to remember the difference between the work of a playwright and that of a novelist. Novelists may imagine their audience as an individual with book in band, but a playwright writes with a theater full of people in mind. Playwrights know that the script is just the blueprint from which actors, producers, stagehands, musicians, scenic designers, make-up artists, and costumers begin. You will need to use an extra measure of imagination to evaluate this play before you see the Goodman production. Sidebars: How does writing a script differ from writing a novel? Do you think it is easier to write in one form than the other? Why or why not? Death of a Salesman was a major success not only on the stage, but also in book form as well. Try to bear this in mind as you read. Try to visualize the action on the stage. In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller uses a dramatic approach to the problem of presenting time (and its passage and meaning) onstage. Dramatists have used many devices to deal with the problem of the movement of time through the ages - from the classical Greek chorus simply telling the audience that time has passed, to minutely realistic aging of the characters through make-up.

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