Reviewed by Judy Richter
The death of a parent can often be the catalyst for adult children to dredge up old grudges and resentments, especially when it comes time to clean out the family home. The Franz family has plenty of bad feelings in Arthur Miller's "The Price," presented by Aurora Theatre Company.
In this case, the Franz brothers, Victor (Charles Dean), a 50-year-old police officer considering retirement; and Walter (Michael Santo), a successful surgeon, have been estranged with no contact for 16 years. After unsuccessful efforts to call his brother, Victor has asked an antiques dealer, Gregory Solomon (Ray Reinhardt), to give him a price to buy everything in his late father's flat. Victor is accompanied by his wife, Esther (Judith Marx). Victor and Gregory are close to concluding a deal when Walter shows up.
Under the skillful direction of Joy Carlin, this talented cast of longtime Bay Area actors captures the emotional ebb and flow of Miller's script as their characters air their feelings. Dean as Victor is at the center of the push and pull as Walter tries to make amends, Esther urges him to get as much money as possible and Mr. Solomon tries to seal the deal and stay out of the way of the verbal sparring. Reinhardt is especially impressive as the crafty, 89-year-old Mr. Solomon.
Although the three family members reveal a lot of information about themselves, the past and the present and although Miller presents the ending one way, there's some ambiguity as he leaves the door open to future developments. He also gives the audience a lot to ponder in speculating about where the brothers and Esther might go from there. This is a fascinating play beautifully performed on Richard Olmsted's set with its piles of furniture in back, enhanced by Jon Retsky's mood-setting lighting, Nancy Pipkin's costumes and Chris Houston's music and sound. It's a great start to Aurora's 14th season.