Joe Keller and his partner were manufacturers of parts for planes for the war effort in World War II. They covered up some faulty parts and were responsible for the deaths of twenty one pilots. The partner was sent to jail, but Keller got off by pleading ignorance. Keller's son, Larry, a pilot, was lost in a crash, but the family will not accept the fact that he is dead. His brother, Chris, is in love with Larry's old girl friend, and invites her to the house, hoping to get the rest of the family to agree to let them marry. She also happens to be the daughter of Keller's partner. Her brother, George, after visiting their father in prison, is convinced that Keller was really the one responsible for the faulty parts and he comes to take her away. Although almost everyone has suspected Keller's guilt, no one has been willing to admit it. Now that George brings it out in the open, Keller must deal with his family and especially his idealistic younger son, Chris. His inability to do so leads to the final tragedy.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein
The three-act play, first performed shortly after World War II, focuses on the Kellers, a family in Middle America. The father (Joe Keller) and his business partner (Herbert Deever) manufactured plane parts during the war and his partner was convicted and imprisoned for shipping out faulty parts which caused the deaths of military pilots. Shortly after that conviction, Joe Keller's oldest son, Larry, was reported missing in action.
The play opens three years later as the mother, Kate, continues to hold onto the belief that her eldest son is still alive. She so strongly believes this that she wants to stand in the way of Larry's fiancÚ and Herbert Deever's daughter, Ann Deever, from marrying Kate's younger son, Chris. As the play progresses, you learn the Keller parents are still keeping some intense secrets from everyone, including Chris who worships and respects his father. Ann's brother George is the catalyst for many of these secrets being revealed and forever changing the family.
This report prepared by Bridgette Redman