A Radio Play Presentation
THE AMERICAN CLOCK
By Arthur Miller
Directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton
Featuring ensemble members Joan Allen, Kate Arrington, Ian Barford, Robert Breuler, Cliff Chamberlain, Gary Cole, Celeste M. Cooper, Glenn Davis, Kathryn Erbe, Audrey Francis, K. Todd Freeman, Francis Guinan, Jon Michael Hill, Tim Hopper, Ora Jones, Terry Kinney, Tina Landau, John Malkovich, Sandra Marquez, James Vincent Meredith, Laurie Metcalf, Amy Morton, Caroline Neff, Austin Pendleton, Jeff Perry, William Petersen, Yasen Peyankov, Molly Regan, Karen Rodriguez, Anna D. Shapiro, Namir Smallwood and Lois Smith
Hosted by Carrie Coon
An audacious, sprawling and epic tale from the remarkable chronicler of American life, Arthur Miller, The American Clock is a kaleidoscopic view of life in the 1930s set against the backdrop of the Great Depression. This rarely produced play captures both the heart-rending struggle and the resilient, joyful spirit of the American people. Austin Pendleton directs an expansive, intergenerational cast of more than 30 Steppenwolf ensemble members as they tackle more than 50 roles in this radio play rendition of a quintessentially American story.
In this lonely time of isolation, Steppenwolf brings you a tale from America’s past and invites you to sit back, power down your screens and let the power of a well-told story spark your imagination and touch your heart.
STREAMING AVAILABLE June 18 – July 1, 2020
On June 18, all members will receive an email from Steppenwolf with their unique login username and password, as well as instructions. This login information will grant you access to ONE listening session of this exclusive virtual reading event in its entirety. If you would like to see more detailed login instructions, click here.
If you would like to update your email address on file or request additional logins for members of your party without an email address on file, please contact Audience Services at email@example.com or 312-335-1650. We look forward to bringing this rarely shared content to you and connecting in this unprecedented way!
About the radio play
The Great Depression, spanning roughly the decade between the stock market collapse of October 1929 and the United States' entrance into World War II, is not a time of easy definition. Marked by extraordinary levels of unemployment and a failing financial system, the period was defined by a desperately urgent need running headlong into an American optimism that had always been the hallmark of the young nation.
In trying to capture that experience for The American Clock, Arthur Miller discarded tidy structure in favor of a freewheeling emotional expressiveness, meant to capture the feeling of the moment more than a clear narrative history.
We follow the Baum Family as they fall from their privileged position in New York society and must relocate to the more humble confines of working class Brooklyn. As their day-to-day reality shifts to a struggle for survival, their dreams of what the future might hold shift and falter as well.
Interspersed throughout the Baum family story, Miller gives us snapshots of the rest of the nation—an Iowa farm auction that tips towards rebellion, a quiet bar at midnight filled with the titans of industry who had lost it all, a man riding the rails in search of whatever work he could find—each finely etched portrait providing another layer of experience.
While experiencing these disparate scenes can feel, at times, disorienting, perhaps that is Miller’s point. It was a disorienting time, bereft of certainty. And yet, if you take a step back, a larger image starts to emerge from the collection of individual moments, almost like a kaleidoscope or an impressionistic painting based more in feeling than classical narrative structure.
The American Clock is, ultimately, a cumulative experience. And like all of the best intrepid journeys, there is a richness to be gained by letting go of the reigns and allowing the experience to take you along for the ride.
READ THE AMERICAN CLOCK PROGRAM
Learn all about the characters in The American Clock, as well as the ensemble members who are playing them. Hear from Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro on why, in this lonely time of isolation, we bring you a tale from America’s past and invite you to sit back and let the power of a well-told story spark your imagination and touch your heart.
Show cocktail: "The American Clocktail"
Shake up your own craft concoction and savor it while listening this streamed event. It may not be quite as American as apple pie, but this smooth Bourbon-based cocktail is the next best thing.
- 2oz – bourbon
- bar spoon – jam (e.g., Bonne Maman Peach-Mango)
- 4–6 mint leaves
- quarter of a lemon
Add mint leaves, jam and a bit of seltzer to your glass. Muddle to release the flavor of the mint and stir to thin the jam. Squeeze juice from the lemon and then add the bourbon. Stir well. Add ice to glass and top with your seltzer. Garnish with a sprig of mint. (Alternatively, try this recipe with tequila and lime.) Enjoy!
"Hearing History Tick in Steppenwolf’s Audio-Only American Clock" – American Theatre
Grand Production Sponsor
Anne and Don Phillips
All members received an email from Steppenwolf with their unique login username and password, as well as instructions. This login information will grant you access to one listening session of this exclusive virtual reading event in its entirety. If you would like to see more detailed login instructions, click here.
Read the transcript
The American Clock is truly an artistic feat: more than 30 Steppenwolf ensemble members tackle more than 50 roles. We invite you to follow along with a transcript. For a large print version, click here.