Preview: A View from the Bridge

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Thanks to a number of shoddy
GCSE drama performances, I
tend to be a little hesitant upon
seeing the title A View from the Bridge.
Done badly, this Tony Award winning
play by Arthur Miller has the potential
to be dull, with the odd over
dramatic shouting match thrown in
for good measure. But done well, the
script allows for a performance that
is built on the subtleties of real, human
emotion. I am glad to say that
this production should certainly be
assigned to the latter category.
Set in Brooklyn, the narrative tells
the story of longshoreman Eddie,
who lives with his wife, Beatrice, and
orphaned niece, Catherine. When
two of Beatrice’s cousins, Marco and
Rudolpho, illegally emigrate from
Italy, they are welcomed by Eddie.
However, a romance between Rudolpho
and Catherine makes Eddie
jealous, and sparks tension in the
household and the community.
What I saw was an open rehearsal
and so a work in progress – but boy,
what progress it is making. In front
of my eyes I watched moderately
well-acted scenes transform into a
believable reality. The directors have
engaged with the characters and given
each a story.
In particular, the roles of Catherine
and Beatrice, who are relatively
underdeveloped in the text, are
given a purpose. I also witnessed an
on-going discourse between director
and actor about the characters’ motivations
and how each scene should
be played, producing remarkable results.
There are a few moments, those
of particularly high emotion, which
lose the sense of reality which has
been so carefully cultivated in other
less ‘dramatic’ scenes, although
I don’t doubt that these will be
brought up to scratch by show time.
A particular mention should go to
Barney White as Eddie. He is entirely
convincing as the troubled man
from Brooklyn docks and portrays
perfectly the dichotomy of the character’s
simultaneous hero and villain
roles. Despite the preview taking
place in a small room in St Peter’s College,
complete with a rather incessant
drilling sound, White’s performance
remained entirely believable.
One of the main challenges this
talented cast faces is accents. Identity
and nationality are fundamental
themes in the play, and so a convincing
Brooklyn or Italian accent is key.
Mostly they are good, with occasional
slips. However, too many lines
were lost due to the focus on accent,
making some parts of the script incomprehensible.
However, I am certain that this
dedicated production team and talented
group of actors will rise to the
challenges and overcome them before
first week.

Thanks to a number of shoddy GCSE drama performances, I tend to be a little hesitant upon seeing the title A View from the Bridge. Done badly, this Tony Award winning play by Arthur Miller has the potential to be dull, with the odd overdramatic shouting match thrown in for good measure. But done well, the script allows for a performance that is built on the subtleties of real, human emotion. I am glad to say that this production should certainly be assigned to the latter category.

Set in Brooklyn, the narrative tells the story of longshoreman Eddie, who lives with his wife, Beatrice, and orphaned niece, Catherine. When two of Beatrice’s cousins, Marco and Rudolpho, illegally emigrate from Italy, they are welcomed by Eddie. However, a romance between Rudolpho and Catherine makes Eddie jealous, and sparks tension in the household and the community.

What I saw was an open rehearsal and so a work in progress – but boy, what progress it is making. In front of my eyes I watched moderately well-acted scenes transform into a believable reality. The directors have engaged with the characters and given each a story. In particular, the roles of Catherine and Beatrice, who are relativelyunderdeveloped in the text, aregiven a purpose. I also witnessed anon-going discourse between directorand actor about the characters’ motivations and how each scene should be played, producing remarkable results.

There are a few moments, those of particularly high emotion, which lose the sense of reality which hasbeen so carefully cultivated in other less ‘dramatic’ scenes, although I don’t doubt that these will bebrought up to scratch by show time. A particular mention should go to Barney White as Eddie. He is entirely convincing as the troubled man from Brooklyn docks and portrays perfectly the dichotomy of the character’s simultaneous hero and villain roles. Despite the preview taking place in a small room in St Peter’s College, complete with a rather incessant drilling sound, White’s performance remained entirely believable.

One of the main challenges this talented cast faces is accents. Identity and nationality are fundamental themes in the play, and so a convincing Brooklyn or Italian accent is key. Mostly they are good, with occasional slips. However, too many lines were lost due to the focus on accent, making some parts of the script incomprehensible. However, I am certain that this dedicated production team and talented group of actors will rise to the challenges and overcome them before first week.

 

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