The Price

Play Review

The Price-Photo by Eric Chazankin
The Price-Photo by Eric Chazankin

The Price by Arthur Miller is an intriguing family drama that was first a Broadway play in 1968. It is now being performed at Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma. The issues of love, regret, hurt, betrayal, death, and family favorites in this story are pertinent to any era. The four actors in this play did a great job of making me care about the story and what was happening on stage.

Samson Hood plays Victor Franz. He had a huge role and was not off the stage once throughout the play. He was very convincing as the worn out cop, tired spouse, and long suffering brother who’s now forced to sell the family furniture and deal with emotions he would rather have left alone.

Charles Siebert plays Gregory Solomon who is an old antique dealer. He gets unintentionally stuck in the middle of a family feud by being randomly picked out of the phone book to give a price on the furniture needing to be sold. He provides the humor with his Russian accent and many distracting side stories as he drags out the “deal” on the furniture.

Madeline Ashe plays Ester Franz, Victor’s wife. I felt her frustration with the whole situation, how she loves her husband yet doesn’t fully understand the family dynamics that lead to his self-sacrificing ways all these years. As his wife, she wants the best for him and thinks if he just retires, it would solve everything.

John Shillington plays Walter Franz, the brother of Victor. He spends the second half of the play trying to convince all that he is not a successful, self-serving jerk of a doctor who abandoned not only his father but his brother. Now after 30 years, he has seen the error of his ways and is back to make amends.

This play doesn’t answer any questions or solve any of life’s dilemmas. It does make you think though and it was definitely entertaining.  I wished Mr. Siebert had a bigger role as his presence lit up the stage.

Directed by Sheri Lee Miller
Cinnabar Theater March 22-April 7, 2013

The Price by Arthur Miller, Charles Siebert

Tickets provided in exchange for review

Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Brick & Big Daddy
Photos by Eric Chazankin

Review by Kim Murphey

March 9 was the opening night for the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. This play is the 1974 revised version dealing with  family characters and their sexuality, death, greed and alcoholism, all taking place on the night of Big Daddy’s 65th birthday party.

It’s been many years since I’ve seen the 1958 movie version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that starred Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, so my recollections were hazy at best as to the differences between the two versions. Today there are many things that are ok to talk about openly  and language that is tolerated now that would not have been in the 50’s, so it was obvious as I watched the play what the differences were between the two.  Listening to my fellow seat mates discuss their opinions of the changes during the intermissions was also interesting when  comparing a classic done in a different way.

This play features Charles Seibert* as Big Daddy, Jenifer Cote as Maggie, Clint Campbell as Brick, Kate Brikley* as Big Mama, Tice Allison as Grooper, and Beth Deitchman as Mae.

Jenifer Cote as Maggie seems to have the lions share of the lines throughout the play, especially in the first scene where she is basically carrying on a conversation with herself as her husband Brick is working on getting drunk and not listening to her much. As the play progresses, other family members enter and leave the conversation  as we come to understand the dynamics of this big southern family. They are all dealing with their own various disappointment in life as they digest the information that the family patriarch Big Daddy is dying and how the estate may or may not be divided when he passes.

Charles Siebert, who is a famous theater, movie and TV star and director, plays Big Daddy. He is perfect for this role with his commanding voice and dominating presence. I could easily imagine him running a Southern plantation and this family. I thoroughly enjoyed his character and the whole play. 

*This actor appears through the courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the U.S.

6th Street Playhouse
Directed by Michael Fontaine.
For Mature Audiences
March 9-25, 2012
Tickets between $15-$32

 Historical Railroad Square in Downtown Santa Rosa.

Tennessee Williams1958 movie of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Charles Siebert

Tickets provided in exchange for review