Collected Plays 1964–1982
After the Fall • Incident at Vichy • The Price • The Creation of the World and Other Business • Up from Paradise • The American Clock • The Archbishop’s Ceiling • Playing for Time • The Reason Why • Fame • The Poosidin’s Resignation • I Think About You a Great Deal • Elegy for a Lady • Some Kind of Love Story
“[Arthur Miller] looked with compassion into the hearts of some ordinary Americans and quietly transferred their hope and anguish to the theatre.” —Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times
Read an interview with Laurence Senelick, about Arthur Miller's mid-career plays, on Reader's Almanac, the Library of America blog
Arthur Miller: Collected Plays—the second volume in the definitive Library of America edition of the works of the essential American dramatist—presents fourteen memorable plays, from Broadway hits to previously unpublished rarities, offering an unprecedented look at Miller's extraordinary middle phase.
The volume opens with After the Fall (1964), Miller's much-anticipated return to the theater after an eight-year hiatus. An imaginative tour de force that unfolds within the mind of its main character, Quentin, the play struck some viewers as scandalous for its apparent revelations about Miller's marriage to the late Marilyn Monroe. Incident at Vichy (1964) dramatizes the roundup of Jews in Vichy France during World War II in a vivid and harrowing single act. The Price (1968)—Miller's biggest Broadway success since Death of a Salesman—portrays the relationship between two brothers, a successful surgeon and a struggling policeman, as they negotiate the sale of their dead father's belongings. Like The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), a "catastrophic comedy" about Adam, Eve, and original sin updated for modern times, the witty Up from Paradise (1974) treats characteristically grand themes in what was for Miller an uncharacteristically comedic and musical vein.
Taken together, the plays in this collection trace the remarkable, evolving range of Miller's genius as he experimented with new forms and themes. The American Clock (1974), based on Studs Terkel's Hard Times, offers a broad, stirring panorama of American life during the Depression years. By contrast, The Archbishop's Ceiling (1977)—set in an ornate apartment in eastern Europe that may or may not be bugged—is as intricately plotted and psychologically complex as a spy thriller. Playing for Time (1980), a groundbreaking teleplay based on a firsthand account by a Holocaust survivor, tells the story of the Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz. Also included are several shorter one-act plays and dramatic sketches—The Reason Why (1970, published here for the first time), Fame (1970), The Poosidin's Resignation (1976), I Think About You a Great Deal (1982), Elegy for a Lady (1982), and Some Kind of Love Story (1982).
A fifty-page selection of Miller's notes and essays on the plays—including a thoroughgoing critique of Method acting, never before published—rounds out the volume.
Tony Kushner, editor, is one of America's most acclaimed playwrights. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches), two Tony Awards for Best Play, two Obie Awards, and two Drama Desk Awards; his screenplay for the film Munich was nominated for an Academy Award. Kushner's writings have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The Nation, and The Advocate.
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