MaltaMedia Click Here!
Toni Sant's Blog
  A blog from the MaltaMedia Online Network | LATEST BLOG | NEWS | WHAT'S ON | FEATURES | WEATHER | CONTACT TONI SANT

Friday, February 11, 2005

Golden Years

Arthur Miller, the American playwright, is dead. He was 89. This was just announced on the 4pm BBC news on Radio 2.

Arthur MillerThis passing marks yet another closure on the living memory of the golden years that were the twentieth century. Miller had a great life. A troubled one, no doubt, between communist "witch hunts" and his tempestuous marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Yet, no one will deny that he is among the foremost playwrights of the second half of the last century.

On a personal note, when I was a trainee at the BBC in the mid-1980s I worked with a recording of the Chinese version of Death of a Salesman, probably his best known play. It was remarkable to see how interested some Chinese theatre-makers were in this play about a pathetic man and his family. Another time, about six or seven years ago, during my postgraduate studies in New York, I handled a polite letter of rejection he sent to a professor who invited him to a symposium at our university. This was also about the time that New York's West 49th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue was renamed Arthur Miller Way.

Although I was never a great fan of his work, I really liked the film version of The Crucible starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder. One of the most remarkable lines in American dramatic literature comes from The Crucible: "Perhaps God damns less a liar than he who throws his life away."

I have a feeling that either one of the film versions of his plays or some documentary about him will appear on TV over the next couple of days.

Blogger QuikDawg said...

When I recently learned of Arthur Millers' death and saw the title of one of his works "Death of a Salesman" I was reminded of the time in 1996 when I was living in Baltimore while working as a social worker at Saint Agnes Hospital. On one particular evening and the following day, I proceeded to smoke crack. Spending several hundred dollars in one night, I somehow wound up in the company of 4 black people in their late twenties or early thirties. One of them was a woman and and the other three were men, who were smoking crack as well while we sat around her kitchen table in a 3rd story apartment in a decrepit rowhouse only a few city blocks north of Johns Hopkins Hospital in downtown Baltimore. It was July 1996 and I remember it had been blisteringly hot outside. The apartment was in an area of East Baltimore on North Broadway where no white person would dare to go unless they were on a "mission". In my case, the mission was seeking and doing drugs with anyone-close friend or complete stranger-it didn't matter. While we sat around the table, I listened to their conversation. At one point, the one guy I came to the apartment with said to the others, presumably his friends, "I can't believe she doesn't know we're taking about her." He also said something to them about the "death of a salesman". When I heard this, I pondered why these hard-core crack addicts would be sitting around getting high and discussing a play by Arthur Miller. I just could'nt put it together that these uneducated inner-city, drug addicted black folks would be discussing this play. Then I suddenly remembered that much earlier in the morning before we came to this apartment, I had told the guy I came with that I was a medical equipment salesman. You see, he and I had just met that morning while getting high in another crack house in North Baltimore. Instantly I knew I was in terrible danger and that these people were planning to harm or kill me and take my wallet, money, and possibly my new car which we had ridden in to the apartment where we were sitting and which was parked right outside. In the midst of my terror, a still quiet voice spoke to me saying "You are in terrible danger right now, these people mean to harm you, but you musn't show your fear to them or they will kill you right away. Here is what you must do! Turn to the man you came here with and say to him "" Let's go to the bank machine and get more money and come back and keep getting high"" Once you get outside into your car, then you can drive away and leave him standing on the sidewalk.” After doing this, the two black guys walked downstairs with me and unlocked the front door allowing me and the other guy I came with to leave. Before walking out though, the one guy said to the other "You'll take care of it, right" and he replied "Right". When I got to the car and got inside, I locked the door and then started the engine and peeled away without unlocking the passenger door. My heart was racing and it wasn't all from the crack I'd been smoking either. Anyway... Thank you God and Thank you Arthur Miller for saving my life that day and giving me a chance to finally get clean and sober! 

3:54 PM, February 22, 2005

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Post a Comment

<< Home