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Charles Siebert stars in Arthur Miller's 'The Price'

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That, in a nutshell, is what makes Miller so exceptional an artist: his willingness to write about real life in ways that sidesteps an audience's programmed expectation that everything will resolve itself in a tidy, satisfying way. In our art, for the most part, we do want resolution. At the same time, we recognize that in real life, few things are resolved neatly in the end.

"I think that's one of the satisfactions of art," Siebert muses. "Art has to have a form and a shape, a destination of some sort, whereas life is aimless and crazy and never resolves anything to complete satisfaction. That's one of the interesting things about The Price. It doesn't exactly resolve. And yet, you're right, that is what we want from art. We want resolution. So will people leave this play devastated? I certainly hope so. "Because then they will have had a real experience. They will have gotten something extraordinary out of it."

Siebert, having acted in plays, television shows and movies, and having directed for a number of popular television shows (including Hercules and Xena), still finds that the greatest excitement, for an actor, comes from performing onstage in front of a live audience. He feels the same way about sitting in the audience.

"There is an enormous exhilaration," he says, "that comes from sitting in a room, hearing a couple of people getting up in front of us and saying these words that start to draw us in and engage us and finally tell us something about ourselves. That's why I go to the theater, to experience something, to experience a confirmation of something I believe, or a challenge to what I've assumed, something interesting, exciting, funny, sad, whatever.

"The idea that a bunch of people can get together in a room and watch a bunch of other people stand up and do this thing we call theater, it's amazing—because we buy it! We buy into it. Those are people pretending. Those guys aren't really brothers, and they aren't really working out their mutual angst—but we accept it completely."

Ultimately, he suggests, it's the language of theater that separates it from other art and entertainment forms.

"That's what theater is: language," Siebert says. "You don't get that from the movies or television. Playwrights like Miller, sometimes, and like Tennessee Williams, they can create poetry out of the most mundane conflicts. It's such a fascinating thing.

"It's such a remarkable collaboration," he concludes, "a collaboration between the audience and the artists. We in the audience agree to believe what the actors and the playwright and the director are presenting—even though everyone knows it's absolutely not happening at all.

"It's a fascinating game, and I love it!"

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