iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Art & Gadg

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Art & Gadg

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 15 January 2013

by Gregory Evans.

After ten years of estrangement, Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan, two giants of American theatre, are forced to confront their intense, almost brotherly friendship - and how that friendship was destroyed by the great moral and political dilemma of the time.

Directed by Marc Beeby

Background

For five heady years, Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan were the closest of friends and collaborators. From 1947, when Kazan directed Miller's first Broadway hit All My Sons, their stars rose together. In 1949 Kazan directed Death of a Salesman, sealing their reputations and partnership. For the next two years they worked on the film that would become On the Waterfront. In Hollywood, Gadg introduced Art to one of his ex-girlfriends, Marilyn Monroe, who became Miller's wife and muse.

However in 1952 Kazan named names to the House Un-American Activities Committee out of fear of being blacklisted by Hollywood (Miller defied HUAC two years later). The friendship ended in blame and bitterness: the two men didn't speak for over ten years.

But by the early '60s Miller was struggling with his first new play in almost a decade - a work, though he refused to admit it, more confessional than anything he'd ever written. After the Fall dealt with the very issues and events that had ended his friendship with Kazan. It featured characters based on Kazan, Monroe and Miller himself, with scenes and dialogue drawn directly from their lives.

Broke and badly in need of a hit Miller agreed Kazan should direct After the Fall. Despite misgivings about working with Miller and about the play, Kazan took the job. He cast his mistress (Barbara Loden, whose character and personal history were very similar to Monroe's) in the role of Maggie/Marilyn, adding to the looking-glass aspect of the enterprise. During rehearsals President Kennedy was shot; and Kazan's wife of thirty years died suddenly.

But Art & Gadg simply picked up from where they had left off a decade earlier. Studiously ignoring the betrayals and traumas in their shared past (not only the anti-Communist witch-hunts, but Miller's divorce from Monroe and her death in 1962), they resumed their old collaboration.

Credits

Elia Kazan
Karl Johnson
Barbara Loden
Fenella Woolgar

Broadcasts

Podcast

  1. Image for Drama of the Week

    Drama of the Week

    Every Friday we bring you a new drama from Radio 4 or Radio 3. Exercise your imagination with someā€¦

Buy online

Available on: Audio download

From one supplier: iTunes

Where to buy

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss