A View from the Bridge

The view from the bridge is a rather bleak one, as Arthur Miller does what he does best: presents human frailty and weakness at its finest.

Unfortunately, the Pioneer Theatre Company production doesn’t quite live up to its source material, offering us a lot of intensity but very little real emotion.

In the early ’50s, Eddie Carbone (Mark Elliot Wilson) is a hard-working longshoreman in Brooklyn. He is, in the words of the play, “as good a man as he had to be in a life that was hard and evil.” (How’s THAT for ominous?) He lives with his wife, Beatrice (Lisa Bansavage), and her neice, Catherine (Sabrina Veroczi). Catherine has lived with the couple all her life, since her parents died, and Eddie is having a hard time letting her grow up. He’s also become, unfortunately, a bit inappropriately attached to her.

All of this is exacerbated when two of Bea’s cousins arrive — as illegal immigrants — from Italy. Marco (Jim Iorio) is a quiet fellow who just wants to send money back to his wife and kids; Rodolpho (Jay Stratton) is a carefree, dancing, singing, blond-headed guy who takes a liking to Catherine right away.

Eddie suspects Rodolpho only wants to marry Catherine in order to become a legal citizen; he bases this primarily on the fact that Rodolpho “ain’t right” — that is, Eddie thinks he’s gay.

Eddie’s jealousy and rage lead to an act of betrayal that is meant to inspire great disapproval among the audience, but which really just seems rude more than anything else.

And therein lies the problem. As Eddie, Wilson storms around like Stanley Kowalski (a role he played here last year), only slightly less violent. He’s an emotional guy, sometimes even crying, but we never quite get inside his head enough to see the import of what’s going on. I don’t know whether to blame the acting, which seems to be solid all the way around, or the writing, which is structured so that within 10 minutes of this big “betrayal,” the play has suddenly climaxed and ended.

The tragedy never really sinks in, despite the intonations of Alfieri (Benjamin Stewart), a lawyer who narrates the play, who says that he loves Eddie because he was so human, so himself. One wants to be moved by the play, but the play doesn’t offer much assistance.

Right at the end of intermission, as we were walking back to our seats, we heard someone say, "Did you ever find out where Eric Snider was sitting?" We whirled around to see who had said it, but there was a crowd, and we couldn't tell. No one ever came to talk to me, nor did I notice anyone eyeing me suspiciously during the second act. I have no idea why someone wanted to know where I was sitting. I probably did something wrong, or something.