posted 2012-12-18 18:53:01

A View From the Bridge Review

Hunter Theatre department give their rendition of Arthur Miller’s play 

Amal Abbass

Staff Writer

Hunter students truly interested in theatre should visit the Frederick Loewe Theatre to see the College Department of Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge. Miller’s earlier major works include The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, which were both critical successes. Miller felt after his positive reception that, although audiences were enjoying his plays, no one had truly understood the point of them. A View From the Bridge was his attempt to correct this trend by employing simple characters, language, and the implementation of old literary traditions in attempt to wrestle with his profound thoughts and beliefs.

The story revolves around Eddie, a longshoreman living in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn in the year 1955. He and his wife, Beatrice, have taken care of their niece Catherine is no longer the little girl he remembers, but instead a grown woman looking to be treated as an adult.The story begins when Eddie and Catherine’s relationship transitions into new territory. Catherine is no longer the little girl he remembers, but a grown woman looking to be treated as a grown adult. Eddie’s relatable qualities depend on his inability to deal with this fact, as many father-figures notoriously are.

The problem is exacerbated with the arrival of Beatrice’s cousins from Italy. The first cousin, Marco, is trying to put enough money together to take care of his family back in Italy. Rodolpho has come to simply seek a fresh start. The story takes a turn when Rodolpho and Catherine begin to fall in love. Eddie is then confronted head on with the reality of his true feelings for Catherine, but is unable to understand them or cope with them.

The blending of Old World and New provides a great deal of comic opportunity, and it is these parts that the performances of the all-student cast truly soars. Kyle Doherty garnered many laughs playing Rodolpho, who is unwittingly aware of his eccentricities. Giordano Cruz’s portrayal of Eddie really took off in moments of humor, and in moments of frailty. Cruz played Eddie as a character unsure of himself, and this second-guessing brought out the childishness inherent in Eddie’s ignorance of his primal instincts and the basic, but very powerful feelings which he has developed for Catherine.

At times it felt as if the actors’ portrayals leaned to the cartoonish side: overly dramatic expressions, particularly in regards to Cruz’s and Doherty’s performances, and odd choice of verbal inflections damaged immersion. The cast, as a whole, also seemed to be unable to bring the true weight and question of the play to life. Eddie is not only a victim of his own primitive emotions, but also the victim of a deeply primitive code of loyalty. Eddie betrays Rodolpho and Marco, causing even his closest friends in the neighborhood to abandon him, and setting him upon a final spiral that leads to his demise. The performances, however, don’t carry the weight of this revelation with them, and as a result leave us with an ending that seems as unwarranted and overdramatic as Doherty’s acting.

The inclusion of the character Louis the lawyer, who acts as a chorus in the Greek sense, explains the play to the audience as the play goes on and seems to be unnecessary on Miller’s part. Miller does such a great job discussing grand and powerful ideas using nothing but the patois of the Italian ghetto in New York and staying true to Red Hook, that the inclusion of Louis makes it seem like he’s banging us over the head with his ideas. Overall, though, generally solid acting, with the strength of Arthur Miller’s words and the acuity of the student cast, make A View From The Bridge a good production.