The American Clock
About The American Clock
The American Clock turns, fortunes are made and lives are broken. In New York City in 1929, the stock market crashed and everything changed.
In an American society governed by race and class, we meet the Baum family as they navigate the aftermath of an unprecedented financial crisis. The world pulses with a soundtrack fusing 1920s swing and jazz with a fiercely contemporary sound, creating a backdrop that spans a vast horizon from choking high rises to rural heartlands.
Visionary director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, Hadestown) presents Arthur Miller’s ground-breaking play about hope, idealism and a nation’s unwavering faith in capitalism.
Please note: Clarke Peters will be joining the cast to play Robertson/Moe 3/Taylor in the production until 2 March. He replaces Giles Terera who has had to withdraw from the production due to personal reasons. Sule Rumi takes over the roles from 4 to 30 March.
Caption Performances: 15, 22 Feb 7:30pm and 1, 11, 22 Mar, 7:30pm
Tell Me More
Though a lesser known work of the legendary dramatist Arthur Miller, “The American Clock” is just as thematically profound and delicately devastating as his more recognized titles. The play begins just after the stock market crash and subsequent destitution in the 1930s, following the story of the Baums, a family who once enjoyed lavish wealth in Manhattan and have now been forced to relocate to Brooklyn to live with relatives of much lower means. Alongside Miller’s frequent subject of the shattered American Dream, “The American Clock” also grapples with the class and racial disparities of early-20th century New York, creating a moving and layered drama about a notoriously timeless struggle.
The Old Vic’s production of Miller’s gem punctuates the transformation of the American family by recasting the three Baums family members three times throughout the duration of the play.
What To Watch For
- “The American Clock” is one of Miller’s more formally experimental plays, which he described as “a mural for theatre” according to “Culture Whisper.” Instead of conventional linear structure, the play examines the various repercussions of American financial collapse with the use of distinct vignettes, each with their own established setting and themes.
- The music composed for the show by Justin Ellington adds complexity and fullness to this layered portrayal of human plight. He told the Old Vic he hopes to “bring South London to 1930s America.”
- “The American Clock” has a long history of revisions because its meager three-week original premiere run in 1980 never lived up to Miller’s vision for what he knew was a great play. The play was transformed over time to its latest version with several subsequent successful productions.
Recommend age: 11+