"The Price" of the title has two meanings. The first is simple: the price of furniture being sold. The other is far more profound: it's the complicated legacy of the past, what we pay for our hopes, dreams, desires throughout our lives.
This play could well be called "The Choice," because, on looking back, one's past, one's path, is marked by choices. Those choices have led our characters, and the audience, to their present &#8211; for better or worse.
"You have to make decisions," one character says "and you never know what's what until it's too late."
As a result, the play is dotted with "if only" moments that must surely resonate with most audience members and have them thinking about their own lives, their own choices, and their own price &#8211; long after they've left the theater.
Cinnabar's stage has no curtain. As a result, those arriving early have time to study the set: a marvelous recreation of a cluttered attic: dust-sheeted furniture, chairs and tables piled high, bureaus and mirrors and lamps; pictures and photographs and a fabulous old morning glory horn Victrola.
Director Sheri Lee Miller isn't afraid of slow pacing and it works marvelously as the show opens. We have no idea what's going on as a single man enters but, as he moves around this shrouded room, we see what he sees, a portal to his past. I would swear the theater even had the comforting, nostalgic smell of a warm, stuffy attic.
We have come to expect quality from Cinnabar Theater productions and are not disappointed by Scenic Designer David Lear's wonderful set, Wayne Hovey's ingenious lighting design or Lisa Eldredge's evocative costumes.
We are equally pleased by the actors.
Samson Hood deftly walks the tightrope of Victor Franz: combining the character's timidity and defeat, his fear of age, his loathing of his job yet uncertainty about what comes next. Miller, and Hood, make it clear Victor is that often-rare human, a truly decent person. Was the price he paid too high?
Madeleine Ashe as Victor's wife, Esther, handles her role well. Esther has a drinking problem that may be more than a problem. She struggles with the knowledge she may have a husband problem as well — after more than 20 years together, did she make the right choice?