Regional Reviews: Connecticut and the Berkshires
A View from the Bridge
The play is set in the 1950s in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, which is near to the docks. Alfieri (Patricia Black) narrates and also provides some lawyerly commentary every so often. Eddie (Dominic Fumusa) adores and also protects his niece Catherine (Paten Hughes) who is an orphan. Dominic's steadfast wife Beatrice (Annie Parisse) has more or less raised Catherine and believes that the young woman should be encouraged, at the age of 18, to branch out a bit. Until now, the three-person family unit appears to have been especially tight.
Marco (Antonio Magro) and Rodolpho (Mark Junek) are Bea's Italian cousins who are immigrating, illegally, to New York. Eddie is willing to have them stay in his house. While Marco is introverted, Rodolpho is just the opposite. Blond and boldly flamboyant, he fashions himself a jazz singer who dances gracefully with Catherine.
Arthur Miller does not hurry exposition, so it takes a while for the evolving story to develop. Late in the first act, the plot escalates as Eddie begins to discern that Rodolpho and Catherine have more than a passing interest in one another. Eddie suspects Rodolpho has an ulterior motive.
A View from the Bridge relies upon both Miller's plotting as well as character development to maximize its potential. Miller structured this play, and others within his repertoire, with great detail. Eddie's presence dominates throughout but he is, at first, fatherly, then possessive and, with each successive moment, more visibly enraged. He pushes Catherine hard and grows increasingly suspicious of Rodolfo. Dominic Fumusa, who is convincing and solid, might utilize more of his vocal range to his advantage. Yes, the character is distraught from start to finish, but Fumusa could bolster his already successful portrayal if he increased his crescendo by increments.
Gifted Annie Parisse personifies Beatrice perfectly. Someone will surely claim that Miller underwrote the character but I don't believe that is so. Beatrice must struggle to sort out her feelings for both Eddie and Catherine since she loves both, and those two come up against one another. Bea is both loyal and smart. As he has in plays like All My Sons and Death of a Salesman, Miller endows women with acute perception to see reality for what it is. Parisse's Bea is both heartfelt and perspicacious.
Catherine is forever juggling feelings: for Eddie, for Rudolpho, and for her future. Coming of age as the show begins, the maturation process is rapidly thrust her way. Paten Hughes finds emotional chords within the genuine and also willful Catherine.
Antonio Magro's Marco doesn't get a whole lot of stage time until final moments–and then that changes. Rodolpho is pivotal. Costumer Risa Ando provides him with fittingly appealing outfits and the attractive Rodolpho sings, cooks, and makes dresses. He is complicated and one cannot be certain he is completely trustworthy.
Designer You-Shin Chen's interior home decor is sublime and features excellent period sofa, chairs, sewing table, lamps and so forth. Director James Dean Palmer makes great use of the added scenic asset, which is the Boathouse's natural outside balcony. Every so often, minor cast members walk along the area. It is not until the final sequence of the show that the exterior dramatically fuels Miller's explosive, moving conclusion. Alfieri, ultimately, addresses the audience with philosophical closing dialogue. Arthur Miller, a most inspiring dramatist of the twentieth century, writes with enviable depth and dimension.
A View from the Bridge runs through March 10, 2024 at Long Wharf Theatre at the Canal Dock Boathouse, 475 Long Wharf Drive, New Haven CT. For tickets and information, please call 203-693-1486 or visit longwharf.org.