A tiny theatre under the arches of a Victorian railway station is to stage a production of Arthur Miller’s The Price – a play set in an attic full of Victorian dining chairs and antique chests.
Most Lancashire people know of American playwright Arthur Miller (1915 – 2005) through seminal works like Death of a Salesman, View From the Bridge and The Crucible. However The Price – one of his lesser-known works – is equally worthy, telling the story of two estranged brothers who are forced to deal with unresolved issues during the sale of their dead parents’ antique furniture. Central to the play is a wise and elderly antique dealer, who turns up at the house to place a value on the antique balloon backed dining chairs and other furniture stored in the attic.
The antiques act as a backdrop to the main elements of the play, offering endless options in set design. Large, professional theatres can go to town with Open Bookcases, Victorian oak partners desks and antique dining tables (as Lancashire’s Octagon Theatre did last year), while more intimate venues can scale it down with just a single antique chest or two, as is the case with the Archway Theatre Company in Horley, Surrey. An amateur group which can trace its origins back to 1939, it moved ‘underneath the arches’ of Horley Railway Station in 1952 and even today only has seating for 95 patrons.
Amateur theatre groups exist across Lancashire, with some antique dealers willing to loan antique balloon backed dining chairs and other furniture in exchange for a mention in the programme.
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