In lieu of his arrival, I decided to track down his latest play Mr. Peters’ Connections, which was produced at the Almeida Theatre in London.
A good decision, that. The play is a one-act representation of the disorienting, time warping and often frightening middle-zone between consciousness and sleep that follows late afternoon naps. Mr. Peters is an old man in an abandoned jazz bar dreamscape, trying to find the elusive “subject” in conversations with ghosts from his past. The “subject” is apparently the Meaning of Life, but the play is not overtly philosophical.
The dialogue moves on wheels and deals primarily with the themes of aging, nostalgia and the emptiness of the modern world as perceived by someone who remembers what it was like to enter the splendor of a New York bank in the 1920s. Peters grows terrified when his dead brother starts bringing back images from their youth. “Stop it,” he yells, “I’m too old for sad stories!”
A sad story being how they used to make banana splits with hand whipped cream. It is this pain of memory when the world you once knew is gone that the aging Miller explores to such beautiful effect. Ultimately the only real antidote to this horror is the final conviction expressed by Miller/Peters: “I feel I have lived my life and I eagerly look forward to a warm oblivion."
This is a touching work by a wise man.