TIM OCELhome.html



A View from the Bridge

American Players Theatre, 2017

Gwendolyn Rice – The Isthmus

A New York lawyer who worked with longshoremen in the 1950s once told a tragic, true story of immigrants, betrayed loyalties and the corrupted love between a good-as-he-had-to-be, hardworking Italian American man and his niece. Fortunately for us, the lawyer was talking to renowned American dramatist Arthur Miller, who then turned the story into the play.

A View from the Bridge, which plays in American Players Theatre’s Touchstone through Oct. 22, it is a haunting tragedy of Greek proportions, deftly directed by Tim Ocel and featuring some of the best performances of the season at APT.

At the center of the story is the flawed, complicated hero Eddie Carbone (Jim DeVita). He has poured every ounce of his strength into decades of loading and unloading cargo on the docks in order to provide for his family. The family has taken in a brittle, orphaned niece, Catherine (a buoyant Melisa Pereyra), hoping to offer her a chance at a better life. But as she’s grown into a beautiful young woman, the love Eddie feels for his would-be daughter has grown into something grotesque. He struggles with impulses to keep her safe, which morph into a darker need to keep her for himself.

Tension in the apartment near the Brooklyn Bridge is already high when Eddie’s wife Beatrice (an astonishing Colleen Madden) gets word that two young cousins from Italy have been smuggled into New York and will arrive at any moment. Escaping from a war-torn country that offers no jobs and no opportunity, Marco (a slick Casey Hoekstra) works ceaselessly to send money back home to his wife and children. In contrast, his younger brother Rodolpho (the boyish and charming Will Mobley) is eager to start a new life in the United States — going to the movies, buying records and new clothes. He is immediately smitten with Catherine, and before long their relationship strains family loyalties and brings emotions to the boiling point.

The play is narrated by the family lawyer, Alfieri (a sad and stoic Brian Mani). Alfieri is present in every scene, either observing the doomed family or counseling Eddie, who becomes more and more distressed and destructive as Catherine’s love for Rodolpho grows.

DeVita’s transformation from a gentle, perhaps overprotective guardian to a desperate man who has compromised his honor and terrorizes the ones he loves is stunning. Inch by inch, his amiable welcome of the cousins gives way to aggravation, jealousy and menacing taunts. His taut, carefully measured performance keeps audiences on the edge of their seats until a final explosion of rage.

As Beatrice, Colleen Madden also creates a character who is slowly unraveling. Aware of her husband’s growing lust for their charge, her face shows the strain as she tolerates Eddie’s slights. As their conflicts intensify, she asks, implores, demands and finally begs Eddie to return to their marriage. The heartbreak that resonates through her whole body as her family is finally torn apart is a seismic event.

As immigration officers descend on the family from the back of the house, friends from the docks look down on Eddie’s actions from the top of the aisles. The audience is like a crowd of onlookers gathered at the scene of a tragic crime.

Building on last season’s Miller classic Death of a Salesman, this production is American tragedy at its finest. 

Back to A View from the Bridge - APT Press...Back to Regional Theatre Resume...