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    Role: Fred Bailey
    Director: Darko Tresnjak
    Author: Thornton Wilder
    Venue: Williamstown Theatre Festival | Adams Memorial Theatre, 1000 Main Street, Williamstown, MA (413/597-3400)
    Schedule: August 2, 2000 – August 13, 2000
    Other Cast: Kali Rocha, Nate Mooney, David Turner
    The main characters of the play are George and Maggie Antrobus (from Greek: άνθρωπος (anthropos), “human” or “person”), their two children, Henry and Gladys, and Sabina, who appears as the family’s maid in the first and third acts, and as a beauty queen temptress in the second act. The play’s action takes place in a modern setting, but is full of anachronisms reaching back to prehistoric times. The characters’ roles as archetypes are emphasized by their identification with Biblical and classical personalities (see below).

    For example, the name Lilly Sabina is a reference to the myth of Lilith and to the historical rape of the Sabine women, identifications made relatively explicit in the play’s text. Henry Antrobus’s name was changed from “Cain”, following his murder of his brother Abel. This is a story from the Bible, in which Cain, the son of Adam, murders his brother Abel after God favors Abel over Cain regarding gifts. This implies that George Antrobus is Adam, and Maggie Antrobus Eve, further supported by an event at the beginning of the play when Mr. Antrobus composes a song for his wife in honor of their anniversary, in which the lyrics: “Happy w’dding ann’vers’ry dear Eva” appear, though Mrs. Antrobus is referred to as Maggie throughout the play.

    The murder of Abel is an underlying theme in the play. Mr. Antrobus pays far more attention to his “perfect” third child Gladys than he does Henry, because of the murder of his favorite child. As this treatment of Henry continues, throughout the acts is seen progression of Henry slowly becoming more angry with his family, which reaches its climax in the third act.

    While the Antrobus family remains constant throughout the play, the three acts do not form a continuous narrative. The first act takes place during an impending ice age, in the second act the family circumstances have changed as George becomes president of the Fraternal Order of Mammals (apparent references to Sodom and Gomorrah but also to the Roaring Twenties), and the end of the world approaches a second time; the third act opens with Maggie and Gladys emerging from a bunker at the end of a seven-year-long war.

    An additional layer of stylistic complexity is added by the occasional interruption of the narrative scene by actors directly addressing the audience. For instance, in the first scene, the actress playing Sabina reveals her misgivings to the audience about the play, in the second act she refuses to say lines in the play and tells the spectators things that cause a woman in the audience to run from the theater sobbing, and, in the third act, the actor playing Mr. Antrobus interrupts to announce that several actors have taken ill, and asks the audience to indulge them while the “stage manager” of the play conducts a rehearsal with the replacements. [ ? ]

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