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The Last Yankee

The Last Yankee
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: Arthur Miller
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 39
Pub. Date: 1993
ISBN-10: 0822213370
ISBN-13: 9780822213376
Cast Size: 3 female, 2 male

About the Play:

The Last Yankee has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues and Male/Male Scenes.

The Last Yankee is a full-length drama by Arthur Miller. Two very different men – one a successful businessman and the other a carpenter – have come to visit their wives in a psychiatric hospital. A poignant look at two couples where the women share an overwhelming sense of despair, and the men try to bring them back to the lives they've fled. In a world where so many people experience mental health concerns, The Last Yankee is a funny, compassionate and profoundly moving play that gives hope to us all. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

The Last Yankee tells the story of two couples brought together at a clinic for the chronically depressed. Two men, one in his late-forties, the other twenty years older, meet in the waiting room of a New England state mental health facility only to discover that they have done business together in the past. Inside the facility, each of their wives recovers from a nervous breakdown. While both women struggle with depression and addiction to prescription drugs, the men collide in their experiences and situations – one finds dignity in manual labor and family life, the other in affluence and industry. Leroy Hamilton (the last Yankee of the title and a descendant of America's founding father Alexander Hamilton) has spent his life as a highly skilled carpenter. His wife, Patricia, the daughter of Swedish immigrants and herself the mother of seven children, cannot reconcile what she considers to be Hamilton's deliberate under-achievement with her own family's grasping attempts at assimilation and affluence. Purposefully foregoing her anti-depression medication for a number of weeks, Patricia has begun to display a new clarity of thought that promises to shatter irrevocably the status quo of her life with Hamilton. The older, more affluent couple, share an equally tense marriage despite their prosperity. Karen Frick, though, has gone farther down the path of no-recovery than even the more frequently hospitalized Patricia. As roommates, Karen and Patricia have been sharing stories about their husbands – and the final meeting between them all, demonstrates the price and rewards of even strained marriages. The Last Yankee is an exploration of American society, unfulfilled dreams, and the complexity of relationships.

The Last Yankee received a simultaneous premiere in 1993 at the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) in New York City and at London's Young Vic, before transferring to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and, while the play is rarely performed professionally, it remains a popular choice for community theatre productions and is an ideal choice for high school drama contests and festivals.

Cast: 3 female, 2 male

What people say:

"…a quiet, imploding depth charge of emotion…Tautly pertinent…unlike anything else Miller has so far shown us. This is what theatre is all about." — New York Post

"The Last Yankee reasserts Miller's unquestionable dominance of American drama...it has the same brooding, powerful quality as all his work: it is a hard, dark elegy of American life, a pensive diagnosis, a requiem with a fugitive bass-note of hope." — The Sunday Times (UK)

"A short piece in length, but a miniature masterpiece." — The Mail on Sunday (UK)

"[Arthur Miller] takes as his subject things the theater has a hard time showing: the outdoors on a glorious New England morning, and the inside of a woman's complicated mind." — Time Magazine

About the Playwright:

Arthur Miller (1915-2005) is considered one of the great American playwrights. During the Depression, finances were scarce and he paid for his college tuition by working as a shipping clerk in a New York factory. He later wrote his first plays in college. With a career that spanned over 50 years, he wrote more than thirty plays that transformed American Theatre and proved to be both the conscience and redemption of the times. His probing dramas received many awards in his lifetime, including two Emmy awards and three Tony Awards for his plays, a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949, for Death of a Salesman.

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