Final Project- Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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FinalProject- Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

FinalProject- Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller



  1. Directorial Vision Statement:

In 1949, Arthur Miller authored theplay- Death of aSalesman. Arthur is oneof the famous writers in playwright history. This is evident by thefact the he received several accolades to his name PulitzerPrize for Drama&nbspand&nbspTonyAward for Best Play(for Death of aSalesman). The play hasbeen credited as one of the greatest play of the last century, 20thcentury. The play premiered in Morosco Theatre, in New York City. Itfalls in the Tragedy genre of theatre plays.It essentially describesthe “fading days of a salesman” (Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

Ironically, Deathof a Salesman is not aplay about the story of a salesman it is a play about Willy Loman(protagonist) who apparently occurred to be a salesman. Willy had anextraordinary quest for love, passion and drive for success.Obviously, it is common sense that most people who have come acrossthis play, will be influenced by Wily, in one way or another learnfrom his life and past mistakes, learn to think like him and act likehim (Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

It is a burning desire for Willy toget recognition or be “totally known.” He could never settle forless whatsoever and that is similar to Eddie Carbone’s character inArthur Miller’s&nbspAView from the Bridge. Willystrives to get all, never settling for less, trying all possibleendeavors even if it all went in vain. Willy Loman, is a risk-seekerand risk- taker as well. He makes sure that he achieves what hedesires for, and he considers it as his “rightful status” to grabhis dues in all dimensions v

As Arthur Miller says,

The commonest of men may take onthat [tragic stature] to the extent of his willingness to throw allhe has into the contest, the battle to secure his rightful place inthe world (Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

Undoubtedly, the willingnessinevitably removes Willy from being in the commonest men caliber.

The directorial analysis alsopresents the vision of the play piece, supported by research anddeveloped through my own though processes and vision. The script ofDeath of a Salesman hasbeen used widely in various theatres. My vision will seek to presenta modified play that will ensure the audience enjoy the production.

The underlying objective is thatthe audience will take Willy’s death as a turning point of theirlives. So, in as much as the audience will never forget the death ofWilly, they should particularly remember the choices that Willy tookand the consequences that these “wrong” choices brought to hislife. Thus, the play is essentially driving a process that was bornand developed and eventually died. The process is the mindset that isseen in the self-esteem of Willy. It is also the blind faith andbelief in the American dream and the one-dimensional description ofsuccess. Together, these illusions combined to make a bitterconcoction of self-destruction that was exemplified in Willy Loman’sdemise. In my production technique, the fundamental reasons behindLoman’s blind faith are depicted in a theatrical sense. The dramaunfolds and is presented in the characterization, set, lights, sound,costumes and props for the audience to get a clear picture of theArthur Miller’s play. The design elements are the key ingredient inplay presentation.

On set, I acknowledge that the playis quite challenging to put it on stage the play contains a lot offlashback moments of Willy Loman’s past life. The storyline alsoinvolves many different places that need a number of resources to beset on stage. Willy walks in and out of the present life and this isalso a challenge. The stage will be the center platform for theperformance, obviously. So, it will have different areas and roomsstructured in place. First of all, the family’ s room will be themain component on stage and it includes the parent’s room, boy’sroom, the kitchen, the yard and also the most important place, theliving room. The parent’s room and the boy’s room are accessedfrom the staircase below. The kitchen will be on the ground floor(Deathof a Salesman, 1949). Theliving room will be next to the kitchen (and it leads to the outsidespace), and Willy’s workplace will be located under the boy’sroom. At the end, the funeral will be done in front of the family’shouse. The spotlight will be shown brightly enough at that area. Atthis critical instance, the rest of the stage will be in a darkambience. At the right of the stage, there will be a distinct hotelroom during Loman’s flashback. A garden will be positioned at thefront of the house so that the audience will differentiate betweenthe outside and the inside of the house. A fence is probably thebest way to depict the outside. This is the case of many houses, sothe audience can relate it to their commons surroundings. The setwill definitely contain scenes that are different from each other.This means that certain scenes will take place in different areas ofthe house. In that regard, there will be furniture sets and assortedprops that will be mobile. So, to avoid unnecessary involvements, theinputs will be lighter so that they would be carried around easily.Making the design simpler will ensure that all prerequisites areincluded. Every scene will have its unique props. For instance, bedswill be set in the bedrooms, seats in the living area and the kitchenneeds to have cabinets, utensils, three chairs, table, refrigeratorand other requirements (Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

Because the play was popular in the1950’ era, the costumes have to follow suit. The characters will bedressed in the outfit that depicts the fashion trend that wasprevalent in New York City at that time. The adult male characters inthe play are, Willy, Ben, Charlie and Howard. So, it is common senseto dress them in suits because they also business men. Briefcases arealso a part of their daily lives. Biff and Happy will be dressed in amanner that makes them Willy children. To dramatize the presentactions, the actors have to observe the imaginary wall-lines and sothe characters will have to enter the house through the left door.Past scenes are depicted when these boundaries are broken and theactors enter the rooms by stepping in through a wall.

To make the play lively, the entiresetting is essentially transparent, except for other scenes thatrequire privacy or partial transparency.

The entry act in the script issignificant, because it has the introductory effect. The first scriptwill introduce the play to the audience and the characters’ roleshave to be clearly distinguished from each other. The audience has todifferentiate between Willy and his friends. So if the first act in aplay perfectly constructs a warm atmosphere, then the script willbecome a successful script. . The whole script is mainly organized inthe conversation and also mainly showed through when characters aretalking.

The audience are a key component ofthe play. Without their involvement, there would be no essence indramatizing the act. So, the audience section will be arranged withseats and very dim or no lighting so that the main attention was paidto the stage.

A crucial factor to remember in theplay should be the internal and external contributions that lead tothe conflicted mind of Willy. Willy succumbed to the city pressureand as such, it is necessary to represent this in towering andangular shapes behind his house. For the play to be on stage, theroofline should be one-dimensional.

Different theatrical techniquesshould be employed on set to bring out the liveliness of the play.The successful application of theatrical techniques will enable theaudience to comprehend the play very well. It will bring out aprivileged glimpse into the roles of the characters. A few techniquesto employed are:

  • Naturalism- This is a theatrical technique that rejuvenates the life on stage and create a humane effect on set. Characters assume real life roles, they are dressed accordingly and the stage is set to portray a real scenario. Life on stage may not be exactly as it is in real life, and it is assumed that the audience understand the representation (Death of a Salesman, 1949).

  • Symbolism– It is normal to use symbolism on stage, this avoids the use of explicit scenes. It is also a way to convey something in a hidden way. For example, the garden outside of Willy’s house is a platform for planting seeds. This represents the “values” that Willy plants in his children. Values that proved to fail. The seeds fail to blossom into a mature growth (Death of a Salesman, 1949).

  • Expressionism- This technique mainly presents the min of the characters. It helps the audience to focus on the psychological aspect of the play and interpret whatever is going on at the stage. Such devices to convey expressionism are: flashbacks and montages (Death of a Salesman, 1949).

  1. Root Conflict Statement:

Undoubtedly, the illusion created by the American Dream may beconsidered to be the root conflict statement. It is a failure indisguise. In a mix, it is evident that Willy buried himself in hisown dreams and thought he would become the best salesman, placing hisfaith in the unpredictable circumstances. Accordingto my directorial analysis and conclusion, Deathof a Salesman presentsthe core theme of self-destruction caused by self-esteem based uponthe approval of others, which is ultimately peer pressure influence.It can be best described as Reality and Illusion thematic concern.The other theme is the “American Dream”, where apart from Willy,other characters such as Biff, Uncle Ben, Bernard and Charley alsodream of success. For instance, Biff, one of the sons of Willy Loman,had a desire to accomplish his goals in a different way that wasdifferent from his father’s. He was eager to explore the outside,farm and work smart without the influence of his father. At the endof the play. Willy died, and Biff realized that his father wasdelusional, because his own quest for success was all wrong (Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

It is theconflict between the illusions that would never result to fruitionand the reality that can certainly be. Willy was abandoned by hisfather when he was child. So, he tried to take make up for hischildhood by caring for his two children and bring the best out ofthem. He was delusional in that, he frantically tried to teach histwo sons that ultimate success is only accomplished through charismaand not hard work. The kids were raised believing that beingphysically attractive was a hallmark of success.

Willy has afragile grip to reality. He lives in a fantasy world, as evident inthe scenario where he imagined that he was having a conversation withhis dead brother. He struggles to come into terms with reality. Forinstance, Willy lost his job at the end. He was underpaid as he wasworking on a sales commission basis and eventually he develops thenotion that his personality will help to assure him of success. ForWilly to fit into his fantasies, he must come up with a deceptiontechnique, by telling lies or exaggeration of events. He told hissons that he can park his car anywhere in Boston city, and the citypolice will be look after it. He also said that he is such anintegral part of New England. No sooner than later that Biff (Willy’sson) realized that his father was unfaithful and dubious, to say theleast. Biff had to abandon his father’s dreams and start to live inhis own sphere of influence.

The playcontinues to unroll, and it becomes apparent that Willy can no longerlie to others and himself too. One by one, the fake realities areopenly exposed, frustrations follow suit. Evidently, Willy is awareof his shortcomings but is unable to come into the conscious epitome.The persistent and unbearable turmoil that he suffers lies upon hissubconscious awareness and conscious contradiction (Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

Guilt, lies,innocence and truth are the frequent emotions that take center stageas this play unfolds in subsequent acts. Most of these emotions areshown through the lens of the characters that make up the mainfamily. Willy is a self-centered man because he failed to connect hischildren with the reality that should prevail he did not want tolisten to his children desires and dreams. The children had to followtheir father’s “reality.” Willy envisions Biff as a trueembodiment of success. Consequently, he also tried to squeeze himselfin his son’s ambitions. Eventually, Biff discovered the affair andabandon it, leaving his father confused and stressed out. Throughoutthe play, Willy has experienced rejection after rejection. Ironically, Willy run into denial by fueling his desire to make surethat he and his family conforms to the American Dream, even if he wasabandoned (Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

The death of Willywas coldly received by his son Happy. He denied that his father haspassed away and all his dreams have all gone into waste. The death ofhis father was like a time bomb that was waiting to burst into areality explosion. Happy realized that his father had for a long timemisguided throughout their life. As a loyal wife should be, Linda,Willy’s wife was depressed and became disheartened after herhusband’s death. She also saw herself as being free for the firsttime, when she realized that their mortgage was finally settled(Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

Willy’s deathwas suicidal. Charley and Biff had a better understanding why thishappened. Being Willy’s close friend, Charley had a full dimensionand flexible view of life. He enlightened Willy about the path thatwas necessary for success. He was a hardworking man and embraced thechallenges and reality of life in a more rational way. At some point,he was Willy’s financial creditor, and even volunteered to offerhim a job, to which Willy declined because he was such a narcissistindividual. Biff forgave his father and surrendered all the fakerealities that he was fed with. He became independent.

To all the blindfollowers of Willy Lamon, the model`American Dream` became shattered in their eyes and this reveals tobe the significant conflict of this play.

Ideally, the root conflict coupled with other side, branch conflictsserve the main themes of misconception and abandonment. Wrongdecisions result to a failure in life, as Willy failed to accomplishhis full potential.

  1. Design Elements:

Figure 1. Set Design

  • Set- This will represent the envisioned physical world of the piece as shown below:

  • Costumes- This is a graphical representation of the costume/make-up choice shown below:

Figure2. Stage Costumes

  • Lights- They represent the lighting of the envisioned piece, as depicted below:

Figure3. Stage Lighting

  • Props- These are the hand-held items used by the actors. They are demonstrated in the image below:

Figure4. Props

  1. Floor Plan:

This should be the graphical representation of the actual floor, it’srepresented in a bird’s eye view. It is where the productionequipment will be mounted placement of design elements:

Figure5. Floor plan

  1. Program Note:

This is a one-page essay that creates for inclusion in a programaccompanying the piece. This is meant to offer any needed insight onthe piece to a potential audience. This includes coverage of thecreation process or perhaps the own feelings about the choices madein the work. This also includes any needed historical context for thepiece or information about the genesis of the piece (which mayinclude a brief history of the script itself or previous productionsof the piece).

The floor plan is a story building that has two floors. A groundfloor that has the kitchen living room, and Willy’s work space. Thefirst floor has bedrooms for their two children, and the otherbedroom belongs to Willy Loman and his wife Linda. The staircase isthe lead way to both floors, depending on where you are coming from.

Willy is the main character. Other characters are:

  1. Biff Loman, Willy Loman’s son.

  2. Happy, Willy’s younger son.

  3. Linda, Loman Willy’s wife.

  4. Bernard, Biff’s friend.

  5. Charley, Bernard’s father and friend to Willy.

  6. Ben, Willy’s brother and a symbolic figure of Willy’s imaginations.

  7. Howard Wagner, Willy’s friend who is also a successful business man.

  8. Stanley, a waiter.

  9. Jenny, Charley’s secretary.

The stage takes much of the lighting because it is the center piecefor play action. Other areas are dimly lit or darkened so as toensure that play is given full attention. Obviously, the audience aresat in front the stage and have a wide view of all the stage angles(Deathof a Salesman, 1949).

Characters haveto memorize their set, words to be used in the play and be on theircostumes.

Almost allproductions emulate the same stage design because the play is thesame and you have to adhere to all the reflections that the dramarequires.


Deathof a Salesman (1949) .Retrieved 5thDecember, 2015 from

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