In Part 9 of a series of interviews with the Director and cast of Peace Mountain Theatre Company‘s production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, meet Leah Mazade.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell readers where they may have seen you perform on local stages.
Leah: I’ve been working in local theaters, mostly in Maryland, for three decades. Groups and roles have included Chevy Chase Players (Essie in You Can’t Take It With You, Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman, for which I won a WATCH award); Montgomery Playhouse (Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Mrs. Erlynne in Lady Windemere’s Fan); Silver Spring Stage (Sylvia Gellburg in Broken Glass, Helen in The Road to Mecca, and Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie); and Rockville Little Theater (Fannie in The Royal Family). For a number of years, Cedar Lane Stage was my particular theater “home”; I appeared in numerous roles (including Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Medea, and Mary Tyrone) and directed or co-directed several productions (including The Alchemist, Hamlet, Oedipus, and Uncle Vanya). More recently, I’ve been performing at Quotidian Theatre Company, appearing in The Carpetbagger’s Children, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Dead, and Lettice and Lovage.
Why did you want to appear in this production of All My Sons?
Several years ago I participated in a reading of the play in the role of Kate Keller. I hadn’t really known it very well before that; I’d been in other plays by Arthur Miller—Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, Broken Glass—but somehow I’d missed All My Sons. I found the play very moving, and when the director was slated the next year to mount a fully staged production, I’d hoped to audition. Alas, my day job made it impossible, so the chance to play Kate Keller now with Laurie Freed directing has seemed like a wonderful gift.
Tell us about the character you play in the show.
I play Kate Keller, the wife of Joe and the mother of two sons—Chris and Larry, both of whom fought in World War II. (The play takes place about three years after the end of the war.) Chris was an infantry officer and came home, but Larry, a pilot, didn’t; Kate, however, refuses to believe he’s dead. In the first place, she’s a mother who can’t accept the loss of her child and grasps at any straw that offers some hope of his being alive. But she’s also convinced that her husband’s role in the shipment of defective airplane parts contributed to their son’s death, and so her maintaining that their son is alive allows her, she believes, to keep her marriage and family intact. She’s a loving wife and mother, but the conspiracy of silence she agrees to be part of produces a tension that eventually threatens her health and reason.
Why is this show relevant for today’s theatregoers?
It seems to me that any play that’s exploring moral choices that its characters make is relevant to people today. In the case of All My Sons, the setting may be the 1940s and the choice that Joe makes about shipping defective products may be clearly heinous in the wartime context. But the impetus to place profit and moneymaking above all other values, including one’s responsibility to the larger society—and, for us today, one’s responsibility to the planet—is still worthy of consideration.
What stands out most to you about All My Sons?
I find it so much more satisfying than many contemporary plays that are written in short scenes more suited to the camera than to the theater. Miller’s characters aren’t afraid to talk to each other, and the intensity that results is enhanced by setting the action in one location over the course of one day. Only a master could pull that off.
What do you want audiences to take away with them after seeing All My Sons?
I hope they’ll feel the power of Miller’s writing and his still-important message. I hope, too, they’ll feel compassion for these ordinary people whose world falls apart when they have to deal with the consequences of harmful choices that they’ve made.
All My Sons plays from October 15-25, 2015 at Peace Mountain Theatre Company performing at Congregation Har Shalom – 11510 Falls Road, in Potomac, MD. For tickets, call (301) 299-7087, or purchase them online.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 1: Director Laurie T. Freed.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 2: Elyon Topolosky.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 3: Chris Daileader.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 4: Michael Sigler.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 5: Natalie McManus.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 6: Julie Janson.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 7: Charlene Sloan.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 8: Bill Hurlbut.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 9: Leah Mazade.