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Wednesday, November 3,2010

Love, Italian-American style

’View From the Bridge’ looks at possessive passion

by Christopher Horb

 

Obsession and the dangerous consequences that can result from it are the driving forces behind Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge.”

Set in a 1950s Italian-American neighborhood in New York, near the Brooklyn Bridge, Miller’s play tells of Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman raising his teenage niece, Catherine. Eddie’s jealousy over Catherine’s love affair with Rodolpho, an Italian immigrant living under their roof, drives him to extreme measures to keep them apart.


It also forces Eddie to confront his own inappropriate feelings toward Catherine.


David Dunckel stars as Eddie, alongside Kathryn Renaldi-Smith as Catherine, in the Lansing Community College production.


Although the subject matter is on the dark side, “Bridge” director Andy Callis says the underlying humanity of the characters will draw audience members into the complex story “You see both sides of Eddie,” Callis said. “You come to care about him and see what’s good about him, but you still get angry at how stubborn he is and what that does to his family.”


Tangled up in the controversial situation are Eddie’s wife, Beatrice (Rebecca Lane), and Rodolpho (Ben English), the object of Catherine’s infatuation. Jack Dowd functions as a Greek chorus of sorts as the lawyer, Alfieri, who tries to advise Eddie.


“The play itself allows the viewer to see what’s happening from all the characters’ perspectives.” Callis said.


"Bridge" was revived on Broadway earlier this year with Liev Schreiber as Eddie and Scarlett Johansson as Catherine. Johansson won a Tony as best featured actress for her performance.


Despite its taboo subject matter, Callis calls the play “very accessible.”


“It’s not abstract. There are some clear dramatic conflicts that I think anyone can understand.”


Callis, who’s at the helm of a Miller play for the first time, praises the writing for illuminating such a heavy story.


“(Miller’s) work is fantastic. It doesn’t really advertise itself as poetry, but the style of the writing is so great to listen to,” he said.


The show, an entry in Cooley Law School’s Stages of the Law series, employs period sets and costumes to help bring a sense of authenticity to the production.


“The world itself draws you in. People want to be transported to a different place and time,” he said. “And this is a time and place that lends itself to larger than life conflict.”


Callis hopes people will leave moved by what he dubs a “helluva story.”


“I hope that they are emotionally transformed and develop a passionate understanding of these characters and the awful choices they have to make,” he said.


Callis is hoping to do the Tony-winning piece justice, by emphasizing realism and making sure the language sounds authentic.


“It’s really quite timeless, and people are going to be moved by the conflict and the characters.”


’A View From the Bridge’


Lansing
Community College Theatre at Dart Auditorium 8 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 13 "Stages of the Law" talkback
following the Sat., Nov. 12 performance $10; $5 students, seniors and
LCC staff and faculty (517) 372-4636 www.lcc.edu/hpa/events/


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