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Marshall Napier stars as the stoic yet beleaguered Joe Keller in Arthur Miller's classic, All My Sons. We spoke with Marshall ahead of the plays opening on November 1.

Tell us about your character Joe Keller?
Joe is a respected family man and industrialist in 1940's America. He's a self-made man and regards himself as 'uneducated'. On the surface he's warm, good humoured and magnanamous, but he harbours a shameful secret. During the course of the play his secret is revealed and we get to watch the awful consequences.
What was it that attracted you to this role?
It's a gut feeling. Certain roles you know you can inhabit. I've played a Miller protagonist before (Eddie Carbone in View From the Bridge) and I know how brilliantly his dialogue plays.
Earlier this year you performed in another modern American classic, Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Belvoir St Theatre. You played the role of Big Daddy – a wealthy magnate and the patriarch of a family in crisis. How would you compare this character to that of Joe Keller?
Both are powerful men but Big Daddy is loud and profane in a way that Keller is not. Big Daddy also has a tendency to bully and verbally abuse his family. Joe Keller has much better manners but is ultimately revealed as the darker character.
All My Sons is one of the most celebrated American plays of the 20th Century. What is it that you like best about the play?
I can't point to any one thing. It has all of Miller's characteristic strengths: solid construction, pitch-perfect dialogue and a moral dilemma at its heart. I guess Arthur didn't become one of America's most celebrated playwrights for nothing.

Tell us why people should come and see this play.
Because it's so damn good.
How does it feel to be one of the first actors to step foot on the Eternity Playhouse stage?
I'm always in favour of new theatres opening in Sydney and this is a particulary beautiful one. Naturally it's an honour to be part of the inaugural production.

All My Sons is our inaugural production at the Eternity Playhouse, opening November 1.

Image credit: Mark Townsend Photography

Posted 26 Sep 2013

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