Let's talk character

This week I thought we could talk about the hints a playwright gives us to subtly tell us about a character. According to the world’s reference book, Wikipedia, the two girls that Happy picks up in a restaurant, Miss Forsythe and Letta, are....fallen women. Now maybe I’m taking this too personally, or just reading into it too much, but I respectfully disagree. Let’s begin with Miss Forsythe. She enters the restaurant and is stunningly gorgeous and catches the eye of Happy, the Playboy of the Loman family. He spins a tale of being a salesman and how it’s good work then, after a beat or two, asks her if she...’sells.’ When I read the script for the first time I saw those lines and innocently imagined that he was asking if she was a fellow salesman, possibly for makeup or some other feminine product. It hadn’t really crossed my mind that she was selling the ultimate feminine product, but when Bob Neu added those two beats between those two words the possibility became more than just likely, it became insulting.

Miss Forsythe counters with a quick ‘No, I don’t sell,’ which, coupled with an icy glare, would be enough to deter any normal man from continuing the conversation, but not Happy. He tries to smooth things over by telling her she should be on the cover of a magazine to which she replies that she has been; many times. This strikes me as the kind of thing a woman would say to put a man in his place. Oh, so you want to make me feel better about asking if I was a prostitute by telling me I’m pretty enough to be on a magazine? Well I have; what have you got to say now, punk?

Assuming that this is not true, she is merely extending the truth must the way Happy does when he say he went to West Point and Biff plays for the NY Giants. It makes them more interesting than they actually are, and maybe people will respond positively to that.

Letta is a similar case, but I am almost convinced that she is not a call girl. I am not saying this because I play her in this production, I say this because she is excited about Jury Duty. So excited, in fact, that she might have to leave the party with these two attractive men early so she can get to bed and be on time at the court the next day. Would a call girl be that excited to uphold the law that wants to put her behind bars? Would a call girl even be called in for Jury Duty?

Now it’s true that I get most of my knowledge about prostitutes and call girls from Law & Order: SVU and CNBC specials, but this does not strike me like the behaviour of a woman who is above (and below) the law.

But, really, what do I know? You will have to be the ones to decide when you see the show, and let me know what you think! Gals out for a night on the town? Or Call Gals out for a night on the town? Send us your ideas!

Until next time,