An invigorating perspective on a timeless tragedy: A View from the Bridge

A View from the Bridge- This classic by Arthur Miller is about a Brooklyn longshoreman and his family roiling with primitive passions in a production by Holly Race Roughan that is both fascinating and dynamic.

You could call this drama a crucible if Arthur Miller hadn’t beaten you to it. That’s how it feels, at least, in the exciting production that Holly Race Roughan has created for Headlong and collaborators. The director establishes laboratory circumstances for a collision of elemental forces on Moi Tran’s oily black set, which is overviewed by a wood-paneled hallway like a peering judicial corridor.

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Miller tapped into deep emotions in this story about Eddie Carbone, a Brooklyn longshoreman whose infatuation with his niece leads him to betray his family. The writer was inspired by the timeless nature of Greek tragedy and the rigidity of Sicilian honor rules. When set against the civility of American justice, these primordial forces appear untamed and unpredictable, with the persuasive power of emotion overriding the calm of reason.

Race Roughan is free to indulge in his interests with nothing left in the room but a few record players and a random chair. She plays the story like an accordion, especially in the beginning, a lively sequence of loving domestic scenes interspersed with spurts of energy and moments of serenity. That old favorite from the set text is played for us again.
Jonathan Slinger leans on a rail and watches Kirsty Bushell wrapped in an outer layer of clothing.

In her role as lawyer Alfieri, Nancy Crane sets the tone with a relaxed, conversational prologue with a chorus feel. Eddie, Beatrice, and Catherine, played by Jonathan Slinger, Kirsty Bushell, and Rachelle Diedericks, respectively, are a powerhouse onstage; their chemistry and obvious love for one another give the impression that they have never read the play through to its conclusion. Eddie’s catastrophic downfall is compounded by the loss of his supportive family.

Upsetting the equilibrium are the “submarines” Marco and Rodolpho (Tommy Sim’aan and Luke Newberry), yet these illegal immigrants show Eddie as much respect as Catherine. The only wrongdoing they’ve committed is showing up at the wrong time.

Even though the inclusion of a pirouette-performing docker ruins the homoerotic atmosphere, the groundwork that was created in the play’s first act pays off as it races to its conclusion. The tragic irony lies in the hopeless predicament in which Beatrice and Catherine find themselves because of their love for a guy who cannot be saved.

Until September 30 at the Octagon in Bolton. The tour will continue until November 11.

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