The Arena Stage is reveling in its past with a polished production of Arthur Miller’s “The Price” that includes two honored alumni of its resident company in the cast and staging by Irish director Joe Dowling. It’s a season highlight for this nationally recognized theater.
Robert Prosky, a 24-year member of the troupe who ankled for Hollywood in 1982, wrings every ounce of charm and wit from the play’s most colorful role, the seasoned Jewish furniture appraiser. Stanley Anderson, who left the company in 1990 after 17 years, is also excellent as the frustrated and unfulfilled son Victor. Their strong performances evoke cherished Arena moments, especially memorable portrayals of Willy Loman and Biff in Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.”
The cast also includes TV actor James B. Sikking (“Hill Street Blues,””Doogie Howser, M.D.”) as the estranged brother Walter, and veteran company member Halo Wines as Victor’s distraught wife. The two are even and convincing as they help plumb Miller’s 1968 drama about choices and consequences.
Dowling carefully focuses on the playwright’s dramatic intentions while keeping characters in check. That restraint, along with Frank Hallinan Flood’s simple attic setting, marks a refreshing change of pace for Arena, which has tended in recent years to drown its productions in lavishness.
Although “The Price”is somewhat wordy in the second act and doesn’t deliv Among the other performances, the two with the most dimensions are those of Oni Faida Lampley as Araminte’s maid and Benjamin Stewart, ripely florid as Dorante’s bachelor/lawyer uncle. The least acceptable are those of Evan Pappas and Mary Louise Wilson. Pappas, so good in “Promises, Promises” at the Goodspeed Opera House, gives much the same performance heer the climactic punch of “Salesman,” it nevertheless remains poignant and intriguing after 24 years. Arena puts it on solid footing.