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A View From the Bridge

By:Arthur Miller
Director:Michael Mayer
Sets:David Gallo
Costumes:Michael Krass
Lighting:Kenneth Posner
Sound:Mark Bennett
Opened:12/97 at the Criterion Center Stage Right
Cast:Anthony LaPaglia, Allison Janney, Stephen Spinella, Daniel Serafini-Sauli, Brittany Murphy, Mark Zeisler, Gabriel Olds, Adam Trese, John Speredakos and Christian Lincoln

The Roundabout Theater Company's interpretation of Arthur Miller's tragic story finds longshoreman Eddie Carbone (the visceral LaPaglia) obsessed with his orphaned niece (Murphy). This raw and simple American fable bubbles with underlying tension as Eddie grows angry watching the young girl go ga-ga over the charming Rodolpho (Olds). Never heavy-handed or gratuitous, View scatters subtle clues, patiently peeling back the facade of banal domesticity to expose a fondness that extends dangerously beyond the avuncular. Set in the 1950s, the tale explores the familiar Miller theme that even the average Joe harbors an Aristotelian potential for explosive tragedy. The production tries to bolster this motif by introducing its own one-man Greek chorus, Alfieri (Spinella), a lawyer of all things, who pops up periodically—and annoyingly—to pontificate about fate, character and the law. The device is cumbersome, but easy enough to ignore. Indeed, not much gets in the way of Miller's riveting portrait of destructive, consuming passion contained in a lace-curtained household. Director Mayer massages the tension by intensifying mundane exchanges between Eddie, his wife, Beatrice (Janney, as always, a consummate performer), and their niece. The case is one of the season's most thrilling, and the performances restore this play to its place as one of the American canon's most enduring works. Indisputably affecting, this View stands out as one of the year's most enlightening.