Death of a Salesman goes into a cinematic blender, which transforms the original's thematic preoccupations into a noir grudge match between the past and present. Down-on-her-luck salesgirl Catherine (playwright Patricia Scanlon, in fine form) has arrived at a grungy motel with her last $300, intent on getting a good night's rest. It won't be easy -- the forces conspiring against Catherine are not just economic, and when her old pal Frank (a ferociously funny Paul Dillon) shows up, Catherine completely loses hold of the situation. Miller's play is not only a timeless classic but also newly timely, and Scanlon and Dillon bring total commitment to this baroque take on the desperation born of a Loman-esque frenzy to succeed. Only the play's final moments hit a false note, reading a bit too literal and pat. A lesser pair of actors would be overshadowed by the production's technical achievement. Sound designer John Zalewski and scenic and lighting designer Francois-Pierre Couture have produced strong collaborations before, and here again Zalewski's hallucinatory soundtrack meshes seamlessly with Couture's richly metaphoric design, while the two are ably abetted by Dan Lund's unsettlingly Disney-style animation. Director Matthew McCray is known for his finesse with multimedia staging, and his orchestration of Salesgirl's impressive array of elements is flawless. Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Silver Lake; Thurs.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; through Nov. 17. (213) 389-3856, bootlegtheater.org.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 13. Continues through Nov. 17, 2012