Best Play Not About Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe That Was Totally About Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe

After the Fall
Arthur Miller’s After the Fall premiered in 1964, three years after his marriage to Marilyn Monroe collapsed and about 18 months after her fatal overdose on pills. It’s a powerful piece of self-flagellation about a man taking himself on an Scrooge-on-Christmas-Eve tour of his own romantic sins as he contemplates getting married for a third time. Miller was shocked, shocked at the suggestion he was trafficking in anything as vulgar as celebrity autobiography, but original director Elia Kazan admitted decades later in his own autobiography that he always thought the piece was about Monroe, Miller, and himself. Like Kazan, the protagonist of After the Fall named names.

It’s all ancient history now, but Jose Carrasquillo’s November production of After the Fall at Theater J made it all feel like the nagging, insistent present, anchored by extraordinary performances by Mitchell Hébert as the straw-Miller and Gabriela Fernández-Coffey as the not-Marilyn. If we could hear Don Draper’s internal monologue, it’d probably sound a lot like this.

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