A VIEW FOR THE BRIDGE
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle.
Although Arthur Miller categorizes A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE as tragedy, it is not tragedy in the classical or Greek sense: it is American tragedy.
Greek tragedy involves the concept of harmartia: an error in judgment or basically an honest mistake the goes seriously awry killing people: sometimes many people.
Irony also gets tossed into the Greek mix along with the Feta and the Retsina.
The protagonist wants to achieve X, he works hard to achieve X, however everything he accomplishes pursuant to X directly contributes to the opposite of X ultimately coming to pass.
Oedipus is a prime example: he tries to avoid, like most of us would, marrying his mother and killing his father (it makes for such uncomfortable family reunions and usually means marrying a much older woman).
By thinking he can escape the fate revealed by the Oracle of Delphi, the very voice box of Apollo himself, Oedipus is demonstrating hubris.
While Christians have original sin, the Greeks had hubris: neither of which seemed to deserve the punishments they commanded.
By contrast, Miller's anti-hero is Eddie: a stevedore and Sicilian immigrant trying his best to bring undocumented paesanos ashore in Brooklyn while raising the orphaned daughter of his sister-in-law.
The paternalism, magnanimity and generosity he has extended to his adolescent niece have become corrupted: they have transmuted into possessiveness, jealousy and adulterous lust of the mind.
The good that Eddie sought to accomplish is not only undone, but it results in his downfall.
Eric Burke, perhaps one of Marin County's finest and scariest actors, is ideally cast as Eddie.
MR Burke's strong suit on stage seems to be density, obtuseness, stubbornness and visibly responding to his inner voices of demons rather than the imploring outer voices of friends, family, cool reason and collected sanity.
MR Burke's Eddie resolutely grasps a psychological millstone while swirling into the deepening whirlpool of Charybdis, jealousy and madness.
Eddie's reversal of fortune, peripeteia as the Greeks would say, accelerates along with his insanity.
Hallie Frazer, as Beatrice, indisputably has the most complex and strenuous role and she carries it off well.
As the wife of Eddie she runs the gamut from loving, strong, obedient, forceful, vulnerable, tender and sorrowful; all of which she performs marvelously: her transitions are highly credible as she smoothly shifts through all the emotional gears.
Director Cris Cassell has really polished her characters, particularly Eddie and Beatrice.
Michael Orlando is superbly cast as Marco: a pleasant and honorable Siciliano, no oxymoron intended, whom you would not want to cross.
If you have been putting off what is arguably one of Arthur Miller's greatest plays, now is the time to invest.
Surf on over to www.rossvalleyplayers.com or flip open the cell and call 415-456-9555 (not while you are driving however).