Arthur Miller would be proud of Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga’s production of his multi prize winning drama All My Sons. The emotional depth of his play is one which requires a certain level of experience and expertise to achieve even an adequate level of quality in the production. ETC not only meets this demand but far exceeds it, delivering a powerfully moving experience.
All My Sons peels back the layers of the human psyche, exploring the truth that lies beneath the image of ones facade. The story centers around a charming and modestly happy couple, not quite elderly but aged. Their spirits continue strong in spite of the disappearance of their adult son, a war soldier who remains missing in battle after many years and is now presumed dead.
Their other son, also a veteran having returned from WWII two years prior, now works for the aviation business owned by his father whom he idolizes.
On the surface everything seems calm; a normal family, with normal routines. But smooth surfaces often run deep and hide strong undercurrents.
All My Sons is a testament to the quality of acting that ETC has within its talent pool. The principle roles in this title require the actor to give of themselves a vulnerability to present a varied complex emotional state, such as when a wearied smile, a warm grasp of the hand, and kind, loving eyes mask pain that is fighting to express itself. ETC’s cast proved a masterful understanding of this juxtaposition of meta-emotion.
Deb Meeks, who portrays the mother, was spectacular in her role. A seasoned veteran of the stage and regular member of the ETC company, Deb delivers a stellar performance that commands respect and admiration. Likewise, Bruce Shaw, who portrays the father, brought an authenticity and sincerity that draws you in to the reality of the play. Other notable performances include Timmy Montgomery as Chris Keller and Casey Keelen as Anne “Annie” Deever.
Preformed in an intimate setting with a thrust stage that brings you close to the action, you experience the story as if watching ghosts of a bygone era through a very thin veil. This intimacy presents a certain realism that achieves a result that is meaningful and impacts you as you watch the story unfold. Many moments in this production of All My Sons will grip you, even shock you.