"The Price" Feb. - March 1976
Hank Bilderback: (Gregory Soloman)
From The Daily World Saturday, February 14, 1976
"The Price" that the viewer pays for attending the Driftwood Players' production of the Arthur Miller play is the sometimes soul-searing experience of seeing human beings torn apart by resentment, greed and guilt -- and each other.
Those are just a few of the emotions laid bare in the play, which opened last night at the Driftwood Theater and which will show again tonight and for the following three weekends.
THE DRAMA reveals in layers, like peeling an onion, the quality of life of a family that was raised, not to love each other, but to succeed and make money. One might paraphrase a famous quotation and say that he who lives by the dollar sign shall die by the dollar sign.
The four characters who carry all the heavy emotions of the confrontation between two unloving brothers are played masterfully by three veteran Driftwood actors and one relative newcomer.
Ernest Ingram, known to Driftwood audiences primarily as a skilled comedian, proves that he can convey as well the tragedy of a man who almost impermeable armor of suspicion.
His momentary breakdown, as he sees for a few brief moments what he himself allowed life to do to him, is one of the most moving moments of an emotion-packed play.
JOHN WOLFE plays with equal force the brother who drove ahead ruthlessly, only to find that success does nothing to sooth guilt and that even self-realization cannot reconcile him with the past.
Bunny Ronald portrays with complete realism the role of a wife caught in the middle and not knowing what to do either to save herself or to save the man whose misery she shares.
The portrayal of the fourth character, the catalyst who brings the brothers together and points up their irreconcilable differences, is a most extraordinary performance by 32-year-old Hank Bilderback.
BILDERBACK, whose only previous large role was the lead in "The Most Happy Fella" last fall, ages 60 years to play the second-hand dealer bidding on the used furniture of the brothers' lives.
With complete attention to the physical limitations and mannerisms that go with great age, and making the most of his moments of humor, he reveals in bits and pieces the insights and wisdoms that enable the character he plays to take on a -- for him -- gigantic task at 90 years of age.
The make-up artist who "aged" Bilderback is May Brook, who works on him three hours before each performance to build onto his face and hands 60 years of living.
THE PLAY is directed with insight and skill by Michael Strum. Gloria Ingram is assistant director, Dorcas Richardson production manager, and Jennifer Sturm is stage manager.
Sturm designed the set, and a number of people assisted him to bring together an unusual number of unusual props, including an antique harp, a wind-up phonograph and a New York policeman's uniform.
The play will be performed at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 20, 21, 27 and 28 and March 5 and 6.
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