Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, running now at Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse through February 23, may not be his best play (that’s Death of a Salesman) or even close to his most produced work (probably The Crucible). What it is is a punch-to-the-gut look at of one man’s destructive obsession and the ramifications of that obsession on his family, his friends, and his community.
It’s sometime in the 1950’s, and Italian-immigrant attorney Alfieri (Joe Winkler) wants to tell us about a client whose case has stuck with him. That client is Eddie Carbone (Edward McCloud), a dockworker on the piers of New York. He lives in a Brooklyn flat with his wife Beatrice (Mary Delorenzo) and his 17-year-old orphaned niece Catherine (Nina Cauntay). Conflict first arises between them when Catherine is offered a job that Eddie does not want her to take. That conflict is compounded by the arrival of Marco (Matt Farrell) and Rodolpho (Erik Weiss), nephews of Beatrice who arrive in the country illegally and who Eddie has agreed to harbor. Rodolpho soon takes a liking to Catherine and vice-versa. Eddie has a problem with this, and his concerns go way beyond normal father-daughter issues.
Eddie wants Rodolpho gone, and after his attempts to convince Catherine that Rodolpho just ain’t “right” fail, he makes a decision that will tear his family, his community and himself apart.
Director and co-scenic designer (with Martin Gilberston) Jared Sakren adapts the stripped-down approach taken by many contemporary productions and it works. The intimacy of the Monroe Stage does work against it at times – particularly during the fight scenes – but it also heightens the tension in others.
McCloud is strong (though a bit vociferous) as Eddie, as is DeLorenzo as the suffering wife who clearly sees what Eddie refuses to see about his feelings for Catherine. Cauntay impresses as the obliviously beguiling Catherine and Winkler excels as the voice of reason who Eddie refuses to hear.
Character actors Weiss and Farrell do okay with their roles as literally “fresh off the boat” Italian immigrants, but I sense that dealing with an accent limited their abilities to delve deeper into their characters. Weiss does ultimately connect in a confrontation with Catherine.
Issues of honor, justice, the law, and even immigration are dealt with here, but at its core it’s a well-told classic Greek tragedy of a man and his self-induced downfall.
‘A View from the Bridge’ runs through Feb. 23 on the Monroe Stage at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa. Friday and Saturday evening performances are at 7:30pm; there are Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm.
For specific date and time information, go to 6thstreetplayhouse.com