Arthur Miller Short Stories

Episodes

EpisodeTitleRepeatedComments
01Fame20120401

Martin Jarvis directs acclaimed actor Alfred Molina in Miller's witty story on the nature of celebrity. Meyer Berkowitz has two hit plays running on Broadway.

Suddenly he's a star. And rich. People approach him in the street. Cabbies yell and wave at him. His photo is on the front cover of magazines. Barmen ply him with drinks on the house. But fame can be tiresome. Especially when you are accosted by an old high school friend.

Though anonymity can be oddly unwelcome too.

Playwright Miller's forensic examination of the dual aspects of stardom makes compelling points about human nature and the ego.

Reader: Alfred Molina

Director: Martin Jarvis

A Jarvis and Ayres Production for BBC Radio 4.

Alfred Molina performs Miller's New York story on the hateful pleasure of fame.

02Please Don't Kill Anything20120408

Alfred Molina performs Arthur Miller's 1960 'Monroe' story set on a beach at sundown.

Acclaimed actor Alfred Molina performs Arthur Miller's affecting 'Monroe' story. It has an especial extra resonance as it seems the nearest Miller came to characterising Marilyn Monroe within a short story. The sweet, dedicated girl-wife - and he, the loving older husband - still at the beginning of what could be a perfect, idyllic partnership.

A married couple watch fishermen on a beach at sundown unloading their latest catch. She worries over the ones that will die needlessly, unacceptable to the fishermen but not returned to the sea. She tries to throw some of them back. The husband, amused, patiently indulges her childlike obsession.

The generosity of spirit and understanding between the two is movingly conveyed and seems to echo aspects of Miller's own relationship with Monroe. Written in 1960, its sense of contentment and celebration contrasts notably with what we know was to happen between them soon afterwards. He doesn't foresee the tragedies to come... Or does he?

Reader: Alfred Molina

Director: Martin Jarvis

A Jarvis and Ayres Productions for BBC Radio 4.

03 LASTBeavers20120415

Hector Elizondo reads Miller's canny tale of a man trying to rid his pond of beavers.

Directed by Martin Jarvis, award-winning American actor Hector Elizondo reads Miller's canny tale of a man trying to rid his pond of beavers. At first he's baffled by their behaviour. Miller uses the idea to examine the mystery of knowing (and perhaps understanding) another creature's motives. Perplexed, the man considers this enigma.

The conventional analysis is that beaver dam building has, as its purpose, the blocking of a small stream with a dam, in order to create a pond in which the beaver can build its lodge and raise its family, safe from predators.

But this fellow already has a deep pond in which to build its lodge. Indeed, it has already built one. So why does it need to stuff the overflow pipe, and thereby raise the pond level?Why is the beaver creating a pond where a perfect one already exists? Soon the man feels himself weakening before such absolute dedication.

He comes to a surprising conclusion which forces him to admire the beavers' complexity, to respect their intelligence - compared to his own doubting nature, his fractured convictions.

Producer: Martin Jarvis

A Jarvis and Ayres production for BBC Radio 4.