Signature Stories: Volume 14 - Page 12

THE SET IN A MAKESHIFT DETENTION CENTER IN 1942 VICHY, FRANCE, INCIDENT AT VICHY CENTERS ON A GROUP OF MEN WHO HAVE BEEN ROUNDED UP BY POLICE FOR UNKNOWN REASONS. As they await their fate, a shared humanity is revealed through debate, dissent, and compassion. After serving as Signature’s playwright-inresidence during the 1997-98 Season, Incident at Vichy will mark the first time Miller’s work has been produced at The Pershing Square Signature Center, an occasion that coincides with the Centennial of his birth this October. Prior to heading into rehearsals, director Michael Wilson (The Orphans’ Home Cycle, The Old Friends) sat down with Literary Manager Jenna Clark Embrey to discuss Miller, history, and our responsibility toward a greater good. Signature: When did you first encounter Arthur Miller’s work? Michael Wilson: He was a very influential playwright for me growing up in North Carolina, being exposed to theatre through high school English class: A Streetcar Named Desire, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and of course Death of a Salesman. I remember being really riveted by Death of a Salesman, particularly the final scene when Linda Loman is visiting the grave and she’s made the final payment on the house that same day. Having grown-up in a very middle-class family, I felt like the drama of Arthur Miller – with his focus on the common man and lifting him up to the heroic stature of, say, a king from Greek drama – was something that was particularly compelling to me. And having been fortunate to work on plays by O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, and Horton Foote, I feel like it’s time for me to tackle the work of Arthur Miller. I’m particularly excited to be doing it at Signature, which has not only been an artistic home for Arthur Miller dating back to ’97, some eight years before he passed away, but has also been an artistic home for me since The Orphans’ Home Cycle – and really since I started coming to Signature when it was at the Kampo Cultural Center, with a cigar box at the door, seeing really beautiful productions of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Romulus Linney, and of course Horton. So it’s been a great journey with Signature, going back twenty-plus years, and to be MAN a part of the 25th Anniversary Season with Arthur Miller is a great, singular honor. Arthur Miller in rehearsal for The American Clock at Signature Theatre, 1997. 11 OFA MEASURE