Miller's View From the Bridge

Long Wharf

By: - Feb 29, 2024

If Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is an American tragedy, as he claimed, his A View from the Bridge is closer to a Greek tragedy. So much so that one director staged it to highlight those similarities.

It reflects the classical roots that Aristotle laid out, though the protagonist is not a man of importance whose downfall does not destroy a nation. But he has a “fatal flaw” that he doesn’t acknowledge. It leads to not only his destruction but also his family’s and perhaps his community’s.

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen three extraordinary productions of this play, one at Long Wharf many years ago. Each has left me shaken to my core, the true meaning of catharsis.

I was apprehensive about Long Wharf’s new production, which runs through Sunday, March 10, mainly when I read that director James Dean Palmer is known for his “reinterpretations” of classics.

I can wholeheartedly encourage you to see this production. While staging at the boathouse on Long Wharf Drive facing the water could have been gimmicky, it works. I’m not convinced that a more conventional setting would not have been just as good, but it does not distract.

The play is set in Red Hook, Brooklyn, near the docks in the early 1950s. It is an Italian neighborhood, with many of the men working on the docks loading and unloading ships. Times are tough in Italy, and the immigration officers are always on the lookout for “submarines” – illegal immigrants.

Eddie Carbone is one of those dock workers, living in a ground-floor apartment with his wife of many years, Beatrice, and her niece, Catherine, who is nearly 18.  

The play is narrated by Alfieri, a neighborhood lawyer, who saw this unfold and realized it was impossible to stop it from running its course.

The problem is that Eddie is more than just an over-protective father/uncle to Catherine. He refuses to see that she is a young woman who is moving out into the world. More has been simmering for years beneath the surface. Like all tragic heroes, he is blind to some of the repressed feelings he has for Catherine.

The incident that propels the drama is set off with the arrival of two of Beatrice’s cousins from Italy, submarines who will work and send money home. The older one, Marco, is married with children whom he cannot provide for in Italy. He hopes to spend a few years working in the US, sending money home, and saving for the future.  The younger cousin, Rodolpho (any suggestion of Valentino?), is single, exuberant, and handsome. He is also blond, a rarity in Sicily.

Can you begin to see where this is going? Rodolfo has no family that needs his earnings; he uses some of his earnings on clothes and records. That Rodolfo sings (he is a tenor) and knows how to make clothes are signs to Eddie that he is “not right” a euphemism for gay.

The inevitable happens. Catherine and Rodolfo are attracted to each other. They go to movies, dance, and talk. Soon, it becomes a more than a budding romance and, then, more. This sends Eddie over the edge.

As in any true tragedy, it does not end well.

Through the large windows of the Boat House, you can see New Haven harbor; the deck lets us see Eddie coming home and others passing by.

You-Shin Chen has created a realistic apartment, though more spacious than it would have been; the furniture looks worn and sensible. Riss Ando, who did the costumes, continues the realistic look. The women wear typical dresses of the period. Both lighting designer Kate McGee and sound designer Jane Shaw create the ambiance.

While the performances may not top the ones I have seen over the years – Tony Lo Bianco, Anthony LaPaglia and Live Schreiber as Eddie – they are very good.

Dominic Furmusa is fine as Eddie as is Paten Hughes as Catherine. She conveys her very mixed emotions – wanting to break free but also not wanting to hurt Eddie. Annie Parisse is bland as Beatrice. It is not an easy role, but she too often fades into the background.  As the two immigrants, Antonio Magro plays Marco as silent and brooding. Mark Junek’s Rodolfo avoids being boyish or conforming to Eddie’s assumptions. The scenes between him and Catherine are touching.

Director James Dean Palmer has cast Patricia Black as the narrator-lawyer Alfieri. I don’t object to gender-switching if it works. In this case, while she is very good in the role, it is jarring. Why? Because Eddie would never have gone to or confided in a female lawyer. He firmly believes that women obey and serve men.

Some of the scenes you see through the windows are also effective. But the climactic scene is hidden from some audience members. I knew what was happening because I knew the show; I could not see it. That is a problem.

Make time to see A View from the Bridge. It is a very fine production. For tickets, visit