- Eric Chazankin
GUT PUNCH Edward McCloud and Mary DeLorenzo star in a stripped-down 'A View from the Bridge.'
Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, running now at Santa Rosa's 6th Street Playhouse through Feb. 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 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 stuck with him. That client is Eddie Carbone (Edward McCloud), a dockworker on the New York piers. 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 Eddie doesn't want her to take. That conflict is compounded by the arrival of Marco (Matt Farrell) and Rodolpho (Erik Weiss), Beatrice's nephews who arrive in the country illegally and who Eddie 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 towards this piece; and it works. While the intimacy of the Monroe Stage works against it at times—particularly during the fight scenes—it heightens the tension in others.
McCloud is strong (though a bit vociferous) as Eddie, as is DeLorenzo as the suffering wife who sees what Eddie refuses to admit about his feelings for Catherine. Cauntay impresses as the obliviously beguiling Catherine, and Winkler excels as the voice of reason Eddie refuses to hear.
Accents are tricky. They often lead to a layer of inauthenticity in a character, as is the case here with Weiss and Farrell as literally "fresh off the boat" Italian immigrants. Weiss rises above that in a confrontation scene 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.
Rating (out of 5): ★★★★
'A View from the Bridge' runs through Feb. 23 on the Monroe Stage at 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. Thu–Sat, 7:30pm; Sat–Sun, 2pm (no 2pm show Sat Feb. 22). $18–$29. 707.523.4185. 6thstreetplayhouse.com