By TOM SIME / The Dallas Morning News
All through his career, from Death of a Salesman to The Crucible, playwright Arthur Miller has fused social critique with human intrigue. One of his more recent works, The Ride Down Mount Morgan, is no exception, though it's one of Mr. Miller's rare stabs at comedy.
On Aug. 29, Rover Dramawerks opens its area premiere of the 1991 play at the Addison Conference and Theatre Centre's rehearsal hall, which doubles as a black box theater.
Lyman Felt (Doug Luke) has been leading a bigamist's life as the patriarch of two families that don't know about each other. Then he wakes up in the hospital after a car accident to face both his wives, Theodora (June Peeples) and Leah (Michelle E. Michael). Lyman spends the play trying to appease both them and his conscience. Bill Parr directs.
Rover co-founder Carol M. Rice says Mount Morgan is a critique of the 1980s mentality. "The play is essentially about not being satisfied with what you have and wanting more, more, more, which is what the '80s were all about," she says. "The epitome of having your cake and eating it, too, yet with no guilt whatsoever. The lead character, Lyman, actually has convinced himself that he's the one suffering by having to keep his double life a secret."
That having-it-all message certainly resonates in the post-Enron days. "Those corporate leaders really thought they could get away with something without being caught. And then they seem surprised when people are upset," Ms. Rice says.
It's surprising that a recent Broadway attraction like Mount Morgan, which was staged on Broadway in 2000 with Patrick Stewart and Frances Conroy, would get its regional premiere from a small, relatively new company like Rover.
"I can't tell you why the larger theaters would shy away from a piece like this," Ms. Rice says. "Most Miller is pretty daunting, I think, but this is sort of a departure for him. It's funny, yet with customary Miller depth; the set can be pretty minimal; and it's an ensemble cast of six. Sounds ideal to me. [And] since part of Rover's mission statement is 'theater off the beaten path,' we're always looking for lesser-known works by famous playwrights, so it was perfect."
Published in The Dallas Morning News: 08.23.02