Theater 7 brings 1949 play back to life at Indiana Theatre

By David Hughes | Tribune-Star June 3, 2017

Theater 7’s version of “Death of a Salesman” debuted Friday night and it will continue with four more performances, including tonight, at the Indiana Theatre.

Arthur Feinsod, a professor of theater at Indiana State University, is directing the 2-hour, 40-minute play. Among the 16 actors in the cast are Brad Venable (Willy Loman), Susan Monts-Bologna (Linda Loman) and Arnick Shouse (Charley the next-door neighbor).

“The issues are as relevant today as they were in 1949 when it opened on Broadway because it deals with the American dream,” Feinsod said. “It deals with the dreams and false hopes and false ideals separating them from true ideals and true values. It’s a very important work for that and it’s still something we’re wrestling with today.

“There’s a lot of empathy that I think the audience will have with these characters. They are complex. They have foibles and they also have beautiful strengths. They have kind of a glow about them. The acting is superb. These actors are all very well-trained. It’s also probably going to be the most mixed cast that people in Terre Haute will ever see. I hope this becomes a tradition from now on. We have a nice mix of African-American and white actors.”

Shouse, 36, is an African-American playing a character that was originally written to be white.

He’s also a lifelong Terre Haute resident.

“Hopefully, people will come and see who Charley is,” Shouse said. “Charley is a friendly neighbor who is successful, but he’s not obsessed with money. He’s not obsessed with being successful. He’s very laconic, very calm. Something that’s important about Charley is that he sees this salesman for who he is and he has no problem with it. ... This was 1949 as it should have been.”

Feinsod said Theater 7, which started in July 2016, stresses diversity and inclusion for all of its plays.

David Hughes can be reached at 812-231-4224 or at david.hughes@tribstar.com. Follow David on Twitter @ TribStarDavid.