Best Actor in a Play

Peter Mayer

Peter Mayer works a lot in this town. He has pretty much cornered the market on blustering belligerence, having played everyone from Lear (as in King) to Loman (as in Willy). But beneath all that bellow lurks a savvy character actor who delights in hiding behind mustaches and wigs. (Remember his foolish crony in HotCity's Filumena?) But as Walter Franz, an estranged brother in Arthur Miller's The Price, there was no hiding place. Throughout the first half of the play, the unseen Walter is defiled as an ingrate who turned his back on his family in pursuit of wealth and fame. When he finally enters the old family attic at the end of Act One, the verbal fireworks begin. Walter is not shy about defending himself. What made Mayer's portrayal so kaleidoscopic was the confluence of emotions that flowed from his pores between the dialogue: vanity, confusion, irritability, panic. A silent ambiguity both defined and heightened Mayer's performance — which felt not like a performance at all, but rather a soul being exposed to the light of day.

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