the ride down mt. morgan by Arthur Miller, directed by Ron White, Peter Van Wart and Cameron Wright, with White, Kate Trotter, Zorana Kydd, Melissa Kramer, Van Wart and Marium Carvell. Presented by BirdLand Theatre at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley). Runs to April 3, Monday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday and Saturday 2 pm. $30-$35, Monday limited pwyc. 416-368-3110. Rating: NN
It's hard to slam birdland theatre's production of Arthur Miller 's The Road Down Mt. Morgan . The new company's already been struck by tragedy in the deaths of the show's original director, Cameron Wright , and one of the producers, whose widow is acting in the piece days after burying her husband. Did anyone think that maybe the show shouldn't have gone on?
What this two-hour (luckily not two-and-a-half hour, as the program states) show delivers is a promising, semi-staged reading.
Miller's 1991 script centres on Lyman Felt ( Ron White ), a successful middle-aged businessman who wakes up in the hospital after a car accident to confront his two very different wives - the WASPy Theo ( Kate Trotter ), and the younger, and (like him) Jewish Leah ( Zorana Kydd ).
After the initial shock, and laughs, over the bigamous situation wear off, Miller ponders themes like guilt and morality, hinting that Lyman (consider the name) may have been testing God by driving dangerously down the title's mountain.
What makes the piece challenging technically are the frequent flashbacks - call them Scenes From Two Marriages - and fantasy sequences. These cry out for more confident direction.
The production never lets us fully understand Lyman, who was a poet before becoming a socially responsible businessman, and is also apparently irresistible to women. It's a near impossible role (maybe an Alec Baldwin could pull it off), and while White works hard, he fails to convince.
Trotter does better work as the hand-wringing first wife, but Kydd relies on pouting to convey emotion.