The Ryan Interview

 or How It Was Around Here



Arthur Miller's playlet takes a conventional situation (centenarian interviewed by reporter, with the tics nowadays associated with such a scene, cf. Little Big Man), and demonstrates how much of a punch you can get into it with extremely fine writing. There are some great jokes, and a very subtle way of working. For example, in the version presented on the Peeb, Ryan commits the apparent faux pas of being surprised at young Fredericka's femininity, in her position, though the female reporter is a mainstay of films time nearly out of mind. But it develops that he is a countryman with not much taste for town, so Miller is cranking up the buggy from the get-go.

Though the direction may not encompass all the possibilities, Eddie Bracken (looking exactly like Ezra Pound) delivers a crackerjack performance, and Ashley Judd renders Fredericka very prettily.

Worse scores have no doubt been written, but this is one in the class of doleful solo piano and sham exaltation (orchestral) at the close. The Peeb offered this under its Regional Theater ęgis, American Shorts, which is illustrated by a picture of supernumeraries in short pants photographed from the waist down.

All in all, a poem of the century past, and a blessing on it.