Timeline’s “The Price” Review – Tallying Costs of Life Decisions

Throughout the play we feel the late father's presence in the room in the chair he always sat in, with antiques dealer Gregory Solomon (Mike Nussbaum) memorably taking this chair to relish in his good fortune at the play's conclusion

 

Mike Nussbaum, who at 90+ is reported to be the oldest actor performing on Chicago stages today, is so endearing as Gregory Solomon, the somewhat comic furniture appraiser brought out of retirement to give his assessment of a once wealthy family’s estate, that you may lose sight of how the performances by the rest of the cast of “The Price” are up to Nussbaum’s high bar. 

 

Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi, left) had called antiques dealer Gregory Solomon (Mike Nussbaum, right) from an old phonebook, pulling Solomon out of retirement

 

This is playwright Arthur Miller’s story of two middle aged estranged brothers, Walter Franz (Roderick Peeples) and Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi) meeting after 16 years in their late parents’ apartment, which is about to be demolished.  

 

Each brother's view of reality and their shared history is at odds with the other's. They face off-Walter Franz (Roderick Peeples, left) and Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi, right) with Victor's wife Esther (Kymberly Mellen) in the middle

 

The breach between the two brothers had happened many years before.  Walter is a well-to-do physician whom his brother Victor, a civil servant policeman, feels abandoned both him and their late father to pursue his own selfish goals.   

 

Esther Franz (Kymberly Mellen, left) and her husband Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi) must confront their life choices in TimeLine Theatre's revival of THE PRICE by Arthur Miller, directed by Louis Contey, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, August 18 - November 22, 2015

 

Victor’s wife Esther (Kymberly Mellen) at times seeks a rapprochement between the two brothers but with an eye more on financial gain than a Kumbaya moment of true brotherly love.

 

Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi, from left) and his wife Esther Franz (Kymberly Mellen) hope the antiques dealer Gregory Solomon (Mike Nussbaum) will give them a good deal on an attic full of their family's possessions in TimeLine Theatre's revival of THE PRICE by Arthur Miller, directed by Louis Contey, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, August 18 - November 22, 2015

 

The title focus on “the price” is only at the most superficial level a reference to the money that Gregory Solomon might give them for the antiques in the apartment. 

 

Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi, left) wants to get a good deal from antiques dealer Gregory Solomon (Mike Nussbaum) in return for an attic full of his family's possessions in TimeLine Theatre's revival of THE PRICE by Arthur Miller, directed by Louis Contey, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, August 18 - November 22, 2015

 

The costs of decisions made in years gone by and especially the decisions made unconsciously are “the price” we come to see are at this story’s center.   Ultimately “the price” becomes incorporating the other brother’s viewpoint of their shared history into their own.  How each brother and Victor’s wife chooses to take on that final “price” is where the story resolves, carrying you along the entire trajectory of this final price negotiation rapt and attentive.

 

Estranged brothers Walter Franz (Roderick Peeples, left) and Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi, right) re-connect in the attic of their family home and, with encouragement from Victor's wife Esther (Kymberly Mellen), confront each other about choices made long ago in TimeLine Theatre's revival of THE PRICE by Arthur Miller, directed by Louis Contey, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, August 18 - November 22, 2015

 

The two and half hours of this engaging dialogue flies by remarkably quickly with the aid of stellar direction (Louis Contey) and a most able cast. 

 

Victor Franz (Bret Tuomi, left) isn't sure he's getting the best deal from antiques dealer Gregory Solomon (Mike Nussbaum) in return for an attic full of his family's possessions in TimeLine Theatre's revival of THE PRICE by Arthur Miller, directed by Louis Contey, at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, August 18 - November 22, 2015

 

Top pick recommendation.

 

Now through November 22, 2015.

 

Timeline Theater

615 West Wellington

Chicago, IL 60657

 

For tickets visit the Timeline Theatre Company website or call 773 281 8463.

 

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Photos:  Lara Goetsch

 

 

 

 

 

   

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