Site hosted by Build your free website today!

On April 14th The Marilyn Remembered Fan Club attended a rare showing of Arthur Miller's play After The Fall. I was unable to attend as I was out of town but Marilyn Remembered long time member Valerie Weich did attend and was gracious enough to share her notes and insights on this controversial play. (Thanks Valerie)

April 14, 2002
By Valerie E. Weich

On Sunday, April 14 Marilyn Remembered attended a production of Arthur Miller’s play “After The Fall” at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.

The play, which features Miller’s life with Marilyn, has not been staged in Los Angeles for 24 years, and most of us had never even seen a production.

When “After The Fall” originally opened on January 23, 1964 at the ANTA-Washington Square Theatre in New York City, it was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Jason Robards, Jr. in the “Quentin”/Arthur Miller role and Barbara Loden in the “Maggie”/Marilyn Monroe role.

The play was both highly successful and controversial, and was critically excoriated for what many considered “a three and one half hour breach of taste.” (Robert Brustein, The New Republic, 1964). The production we saw at the Fountain featured Tracy Middendorf as “Maggie” and Morian Higgins as “Quentin,” and was directed by Stephen Sachs. The play does not focus entirely on the Miller/Monroe relationship, but rather includes many thinly-disguised facets of Arthur Miller’s life, including his marriage to his first wife; his relationships with his parents and brother; his involvement with the Communist/”Red scare” of the 1950s; and his meeting with the woman who would become his third wife. Many of the scenes between Quentin and Maggie were based on factual occurrences between Miller and Monroe. As a result, the scenes are absolutely heartbreaking to watch as Maggie descends deeper into her destructive routine of booze and pills. Says Quentin: “You want to die, Maggie, and I really don’t know how to prevent it. But it struck me that I have been playing with your life out of some idiotic hope of some kind that you’d come out of this endless spell. But there’s only one hope, dear—you’ve got to start to look at what you’re doing.”

The play even includes a scene in which Maggie, after falling into a drug-induced sleep, begins exhibiting the signs of overdose with her deep, strange breathing. Miller saved Monroe’s life on more than one occasion because he had learned to recognize this unnatural breathing and knew when to call for help. “After The Fall” is not a flattering portrait of either Miller or Monroe; however, its raw candor about two people who love each other but who ultimately end up tearing each other apart transcends the Miller-Monroe marriage.

The message seems to be that it is a tragic truth about the human condition that we often lash out at and act viciously toward the very people we profess to love. At one point, Quentin acknowledges that both he and Maggie have used each other. Maggie denies this. Quentin says: “Yes, you. And I. ‘To live’ we cried, and ‘Now’ we cried. And loved each other’s innocence, as though to love enough what was not there would cover up what was. But there is an angel, and night and day he brings back to us exactly what we want to lose. So you must love him because he keeps truth in the world. You eat those pills to blind yourself, but if you could only say, ‘I have been cruel,’ this frightening room would open. If you could say, ‘I have been kicked around, but I have been just as inexcusably vicious to others, called my husband idiot in public, I have been utterly selfish despite my generosity, I have been hurt by a long line of men but I have cooperated with my persecutors—“

There is even a reference to Marilyn finding out what Miller really thinks of her when she finds his diary on his desk during the filming of “The Prince and The Showgirl.” (Although in the play, Maggie finds a letter that Quentin has written.) Many of the Quentin/Maggie scenes were painful and difficult to watch, knowing that so much was based on Miller and Monroe’s marriage. After the show, we had the opportunity to speak to several of the actors.

Love, Valerie

Thanks Valerie for that wonderful report--

And thank you LA STAGE for the wonderful photo's!

(If you'd like more information on the wonderful magazine LA STAGE please click on the magazine above)

ArchivesGalleryMember SpotlightNewsGuest PageHomeContact
© This website and all connected are Copyright ©2001/2002 by Jill Adams. All images and text are not to be reproduced without prior permission.