BBC Radio 4, 15 January 2013
Art and Gadg was immediately after the premiere of After
the Fall, at a time when Arthur Miller (Nathan Osgood) needed a hit, and had reluctantly engaged the services of
his one-time friend Elia Kazan (Karl Johnson) as director.
At first glance, the collaboration seemed to work well; the two men worked well
together after a ten-year lull to produce a play that was a popular if not a critical hit. Critics disliked it
on account of the way in which Miller had dramatized aspects of his own life, especially his marriage to Marilyn
Monroe and his feud with Kazan. Miller himself insisted that the play was a fictional piece, only incidentally based
on such incidents.
However, as the action progressed, it became increasingly clear to Miller that he
had made a mistake; his concern to produce an effective piece had blinded him to the obvious. The play's central character
Maggie - played by Kazan's second wife Barbara Loden (Fenella Woolgar) - was actually Monroe, even down to the blonde
wig she was wearing on stage. Miller asked Kazan for changes; and by doing so brought to the surface the simmering
resentments between the two men, which had arisen on account of Kazan's decision to name the names of alleged communists
during the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) in the early 1950s.
Gregory Evans' play was first and foremost about guilt; the guilt shared by Kazan
and Miller for different reasons. Miller came to understand that to parade aspects of his own life on the stage rather
trivialized the lives of those no longer around - especially Monroe. Kazan understood the consequence of his naming
names, even though he insisted his decision had been made from the best of personal motives. The ending saw the two
men reconciled, but we did not really know for how long. The director was Marc Beeby.