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'Death of a Salesman' on stage at HCC

December 04, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College's Robinwood Players will present "Death of a Salesman," Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-award-winning 1949 drama.

The play is the story of the last day of Willy Loman, a failing traveling salesman.

"He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine," is how he's described in the play's requiem.

Jason Morar, who plays Willy Loman, describes him as a total loser, a failure as a father.

"The man didn't know who he was," says Biff, Willy's son, who is played by Ben Wells.

Christine Walters portrays Loman's wife, Linda. Ryan Williams is son Happy Loman. Robin Shaner is costume designer, and set design is by Joe Marschner and Joe Rathvon.

Period kitchen appliances and an old radiator authenticate the late 1940s timeframe, says Vanessa Hadley, 22, who is serving as dramaturge for the production, researching the play's history, helping to preserve the integrity of the script.

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"It's nice to do a classic American play," says Michael Harsh, professor of humanities, who is directing the production. "It's nice to stretch."

Morar, 24, is indeed stretching to play the leading role in the play he describes as "the tragedy of the common man."

He says it's really just hitting him. He's just beginning to grasp how intense "Death of a Salesman" is. He's stayed away from viewing the award-winning 1985 film version of the drama with Dustin Hoffman in the role of Willy Loman. "I want to do it my way," he explains.

He says he's worked harder for this play than anything he's ever done. The experience has been rewarding.

Harsh also has purposely avoided watching the Hoffman production. He wants Robinwood Players' "Death of a Salesman" to be their own, but they won't stray from the playwright's concept.

"We can't mess with it, because so many people know it," Harsh says.

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