The first show of the Players 95th season is Arthur Miller's raw American tragedy, "A View From The Bridge". Written in 1956 the show takes place in Brooklyn in the waterfront neighborhood which is home to Italian immigrant workers who are cast adrift by poverty, on the edges of the American dream- all bound by Italian codes of justice, family values and the strict laws of US immigration. This drama crackles with tension and betrayals as Eddie Carbone's obsession with his pretty orphaned niece spirals out of control. The arrival of two of his wife's illegal immigrant cousins give rise to a situation in which Eddie has to act in ways that shatter both his family and his community. The addition of some group scenes help to lighten this heavy show but it is the top notch acting which will leave you breathless.
The set design by Tom Norton helps set the show in its Brooklyn setting with the outside of a two story brick apartment and the girder of the Brooklyn Bridge. (Scenic painting is fantastically done by Eleanor Boober.) The cast moves the table and chairs for the house and the lawyer's table and chairs on and off the center playing area. The additional cast members and scenes are very well done especially the group reaction to Eddie's ratting out the cousins on the pay phone. Don Wilmeth plays the lawyer, Alfieri and also narrates the show.
The leading characters are handled beautifully by this talented cast. Neil Santoro is terrific as the off center uncle who lusts after his niece. His physicality and brutality are just what is needed to pull off this character. His long suffering wife, Beatrice is played by Carol Schlink who gives the role the depth of emotions needed. Tara Beaulieu plays the spitfire young niece who falls in love with a person her uncle despises. Her interactions with the other characters is excellent and the tender scenes with her true love, Rodolpho are, too.
The handsome blond haired Italian, Rodolpho is played by Steven Dulude who conveys the immigrant who yearns to become an American but isn't afraid to cook, sew, sing and dance. His youthful exuberance really shines in this role. The other brother, Marco who is as strong as a bull is played wonderfully by Dennis Bouchard. He usually plays comic roles but this shows off his talent as a dramatic actor perfectly. Bravo to these five leading players.
The townspeople also shine in their roles whether scripted or adlibbed. These talented performers are George Billings, Paul Oliver, Jay Miscia, Iain Lawson, Jane Fierstein, Liz Messier, Sue Staniunas and Jack O'Keefe. Their interactions bring out the true sense of this close Italian community. So for an evening of taut drama mixed with some light moments, be sure to catch, "A View From the Bridge" at the Barker Playhouse. (The show also has 52 light cues executed by Lydia Matteson and numerous sound cues by the groups president, Marcia Layden.) Be sure to call Lydia before this show sells out.