"The Price" @ Eventide Arts
When: Fri May 17th
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Where: Gertrude Lawrence Stage | Historic Dennis Union Church | 713 Main Street | Dennis
Showtimes: May 9 - 26 (no show on May 10th) Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm; Sundays at 2:30pm
Eventide Arts presents The Price, a family drama by Arthur Miller. It’s a play about family and interestingly, the small cast includes two family members.
Nicholas Dorr and Cynthia Harrington, both of Dennis, are brother and sister in real life. Although they tried out separately, they play brother and sister-in-law in the play.
In The Price, Dorr plays a successful surgeon, Walter, who is brother to Victor, a police sergeant, who doesn’t feel successful. The two brothers, long estranged, come back together in a musty old attic full of their father’s furniture that they wish to sell. A very old and wise antiques dealer has come to give them a price for the lot. Meanwhile, the brothers air old hurts and angers while Esther, Victor’s wife, and the antiques dealer, add to and enhance the family dynamics.
Family dynamics played a part in Dorr’s and Harrington’s early exposure to the theatre. Dorr became completely enthralled with theatre from age 9 and while his kid sister wanted to be in theatre too, “My mother wouldn’t let Cindy near a play because she was afraid Cindy would get totally involved like I was,” says Dorr.
When Harrington was in third grade, Dorr found a part for her, casting her as Doodle Doo Rooster in The Three Little Pigs while Dorr played the Big Bad Wolf (with the Boston Children’s Theater Stage Mobile). As her mother feared, she did become involved with the theatre. As for Dorr, after delving into acting, set design and directing off Broadway, Dorr cast her again in plays he produced on the Cape in the early 80’s after another actress dropped out.
“So, I dusted off my tap shoes and started doing my vocal warm-ups,” says Harrington. “I ended up working with him in two plays that summer, Mack and Mabel and Scapino. A film director saw us both in one of those shows and cast us in a little independent film together.”
That film, says Dorr, was not a good one but HBO played it over and over again to the point that when he moved to Los Angeles shortly after, lots of people recognized him. In Los Angeles, Dorr focused on set design for theatre and film. Meanwhile, Harrington also lived in Los Angeles, making a living in film production while raising a family. Dorr, now an uncle, was her babysitter and stayed involved in her life.
Their relationship is the polar opposite of the characters’ in The Price. They work well together, practice together and offer questions and reflections to each other to strengthen their roles. Harrington goes to Dorr for advice, seeing him as a good teacher and coach. “Because we are brother and sister,” says Harrington, “I think we can be more honest and frank with each other when we rehearse.”
Says Dorr, “she is very open and shares ideas. She’s really helped me in going over lines and talking about the play.”
The Price is all about family, from internal family struggles regarding the price of furniture to the real price of one’s decisions.
Harrington explains: “Each of the characters is defending their own version of the past and defending their actions to make some sense of what has transpired within their family. Ultimately, they have all made choices and acted in some way, either consciously or subconsciously, for better or for worse, and a price is to be paid.”
Harrington’s character, Esther, is an eternal optimist but faces some tough realizations when Walter (Dorr) exposes some facts that her husband hasn’t told her about. Esther, an enabler, glosses over the truths about her life with her husband but by the end of the play, reality is undeniable.
“I think Miller’s message here is that life can be messy,” says Harrington. “I expect the audience to feel conflicted because all the characters have valid reasons for their actions. Sometimes, to get through the painful times, we re-write the past with our own version of the events. We make choices, and there are consequences for those choices.”
“There are two sides to every story,” says Dorr. “We like things to be black and white but in the end, it isn’t.”