"The Price" takes place in an old attic, crammed with dusty
furniture and mementos - an abandoned time capsule. And the
building is about to be torn down - everything must go. We meet a
middle-aged man, negotiating a bulk sale with an elderly appraiser.
The cagey old geezer lets on that most of the stuff is completely
out of style.
Solomon: Anything Spanish Jacobean, you will sell quicker a
case of tuberculosis.
Victor: Why? That table is in beautiful
Solomon: Officer, you are talking reality. Now with used
furniture, you cannot talk reality. They don't like that style. And
not only they don't like it, they hate it. And the same thing with
that buffet there….
Veteran actor David Silberman is marvelous as the 89-year-old
businessman. But the meat of this drama is the strained
relationship between the two brothers who own the stuff - and they
don't get along. One dropped out of college to tend the aging
father, getting by on a modest salary as a cop. The other brother
became a wealthy surgeon, disappearing into a mansion in a tony
suburb. The brothers haven't talked in years. But with family
memories at stake, the long-absent surgeon walks in, and relives
the downside of material success.
Walter: I found myself alone, in my living room, dead
drunk, with a knife in my hand, getting ready to kill my
Esther: Good Lord!
Walter: Yeah. I almost made it, too. But there's one
virtue in going nuts, provided you survive it, of course. You get
to see the terror. Not the screaming kind, but the slow daily fear
we call 'ambition,' 'cautiousness,' and 'piling up the
These brothers try to make peace - but they can't.
Walter: And I've wanted to tell you for some time is that
you helped me understand that in myself.
Walter: Yes. Because of what you did….
Past disputes resurface, as the two brothers argue over what
constitutes success in life, and failure. It's a spectacular
confrontation, and Miller's sizzling script is well served by this
illuminating, gripping production. Encountering "The Price" is like
finding a dusty treasure in the attic - I encourage you to see
NPR essay on "Arthur Miller's Lasting Impact"