Wednesday, November 16, 2016

All My Sons

 Image credit: Paul Sihvonen-Binder

This month the University of Redlands Theatre department performs Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at Glenn Wallichs Theatre on November 11-13 and 18-20.

All My Sons is Miller’s first play to receive widespread critical acclaim. It is the story of the Keller family: Joe Keller, a successful factory owner who has built his business on selling defective parts to the military during World War II, his older son Larry, a pilot missing in action, and his younger son Chris, who joined the family business despite suspicions about his father’s unethical actions.

Miller frequently drew from real-life experiences and people for his plays. He was the younger of two brothers, and his father ran the family business, a coat and suit factory, in a well-to-do part of Manhattan. When Miller was a teenager, the business failed, and his father moved the family into smaller quarters in Brooklyn, just as the Great Depression began. Miller lacked the money to go to college and worked odd jobs for years to save for his education, building experiences (such as encounters with anti-Semitism while working an auto parts warehouse) that would recur throughout his later plays.

An English major at University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Miller studied expressionist playwrights like Henrik Ibsen and social protest plays by Clifford Odets. He received university awards for his earliest plays and further honed his craft after graduation by producing half hour works broadcast over the radio. However, his first play produced on Broadway was a critical failure. The story of a garage mechanic who cannot understand why he is successful while his brother is not, The Man Who Had All the Luck closed after just four performances. Discouraged, Miller decided to try writing one more play before giving up on playwriting for good. That play would become All My Sons.

After the play premiered at the Coronet Theatre in January 1947, William Hawkins wrote, “All My Sons is a play of high voltage, charged with things to say. No civilian, past or present, will find himself immune from its comment.”

Buy tickets to attend a University of Redlands performance of All My Sons here.

Further Reading

Hawkins, William. “‘All My Sons’ a Tense Drama.” New York World-Telegram, January 30, 1947. Reprinted in New York Theatre Critics Reviews, Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 475.

Marino, Stephen. “Arthur Miller.” Twentieth-Century American Dramatists: Fourth Series. Ed. Christopher J. Wheatley. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 266. Detroit: Gale, 2003. From Literature Resource Center.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Faith, Sexuality, & Gender Identity

On November 8, 2016, America's attention will be on the election. A few days later, this stressful and unpredictable election will be followed by a move from a "historic campus ministry that has accomplished an incalculable amount of good in its many years of operation" to become more homogeneous by pushing out voices of its more progressive employees. Whether we're talking politics or doctrine, whether we understand or agree with one another, we must take and create opportunities to come together to listen, learn from, and engage with each other. Doing so asks that we brave uncomfortable, controversial, and threatening ideas. Doing so asks that we question the foundations of our beliefs. Doing so challenges the idea that perhaps defining what and who are 'right' and 'wrong' may be less important than coming together to find common ground.

Below are some of the wonderful resources Armacost Library has to stimulate conversations on faith, sexuality, and gender identity. We can use these to outline or strengthen our stances, but we can also use these to redefine the ways we understand and experience difference, ignorance, appreciation, justice, dogmas, respect, and dignity.

Paige Mann
Physical Sciences Librarian, Web Experiences Librarian, and Alumni of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Redlands

 Homosexuality and religion : an encyclopedia Queer inclusion in the United Methodist Church  Torah queeries : weekly commentaries on the Hebrew Bible   Living out Islam : voices of gay, lesbian, and transgender Muslims  Queer religion  Taking a chance on God : liberating theology for gays, lesbians, and their lovers, families, and friends ; with a new preface  Straight & narrow? : compassion & clarity in the homosexuality debate More Than Welcome Homophobia in the Black Church   Queer and Catholic   Sex and the Church: Gender, Homosexuality, and the Transformation of Christian Ethics  Hate is the sin : putting faces on the debate over human sexuality  Catholic figures, queer narratives