VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at Ross Valley Players

Featured in the Ross Valley Players' production of Arthur Miller's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE are (from left to right) Denise Elia as Catherine, Hallie Frazer as Beatrice and Eric Burke as Eddie.

Photo by Wendell H. Wilson


View from the Bridge by master playwright Arthur Miller, first produced as a one-act verse drama on September 29, 1955 was revised in 1956 to become the traditional two act prose version that has had many laudatory productions. It is a gem of a play now receiving a triumphant staging by the Ross Valley Players.

Modeled on traditional Greek Drama, Miller has created a chorus of one in the role of Alfieri (Rick Williams), a family friend and lawyer who comments on the action, interacts with other characters and describes off stage events. It is a fine play telling a powerful and profound story of Eddie Carbone (Eric Burke), a hard working and emotionally inarticulate Sicilian-American. Miller is emphasizing that an ordinary man can be a tragic hero.

The time is 1950, in “Red Hook” section of Brooklyn, at the height of the longshoreman era and Mafia control of the waterfront. Eddie lives with his wife Beatrice ((Hallie Frazer) and her orphaned niece Catherine (Denise Elia), whom they have brought up as their own daughter. Into their household come Beatrice's Sicilian cousins, Marco (Michael Orlando) and Rodolpho (Jordan Winer ) who entered the country illegally to find work on the waterfront. Eddie's love for his niece turns to obsession when Rodolpho and Catherine strike up a friendship that blooms into romance. As Eddie’s love for his niece turns to obsession, he begins to undermine the attraction with "you could kiss him he is so sweet" suggesting the vivacious Rodolpho is less than masculine. There is more than the hint of the sub-text suggesting Eddie is secretly drawn to him. Insidiously, Eddie's conflicted feelings lead him to betray his family's trust and takes action that ends in violence.

All the cast members perform admirably to bring this drama to life. Eric Burke who has a striking resemblance to the late movie actor William Bendix, gives a bravura performance. Particular accolades go to Rick Williams in the role of Alfieri , the Greek chorus, in a stunning confrontational scene with Eddie that alone is worth the price of admission.

David Apple's set brilliantly covers the entire spectrum of Brooklyn from the Bridge to the Docks as well as the interior and exterior of Eddie and Beatrice's humble abode. The thrust stage provides great depth needed for the panoramic set that is atmospherically lighted by Les Lizama. A Brooklynite member of the audience assured me it made him feel nostalgic for home.

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE by Arthur Miller, directed by Cris Cassell. Ross Valley Players (RVP), Barn Theatre, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Lagunitas, Ross, CA. 415-456-9555 or May 15—June 21, 2009. Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm (May 31, June 7, 14, 21), Thursdays at 7:30pm (May 28, June 4, 11, 18). "Pay What You Will" on 5/22.

Reviewed by Robin Taylor for TheatreWorld Internet Magazine.