“A View from the Bridge” Takes this Theater a Notch Up

The cast of a “View From the Bridge,” is led by Peter Gregory who plays Eddie (center).
Photo: RICH SCHMITT/CTN

Terrific.

Terrific acting. Terrific direction. Terrific production. If you plan to see live theater this year, Theatre Palisades’ production of A View from the Bridge, which opened on March 29, is a must.

Many might have attended prior shows at Pierson Playhouse, but with this production, this community theater has taken a step up into a professional realm.

This Arthur Miller play was first performed in 1955 and is set in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on a waterfront community.

The Wall Street Journal in a 2010 story wrote that “in many ways, it is Miller’s best-observed work. Not only is the atmosphere based on his own dockside wanderings, but the play’s scandalous crux—will Eddie, driven by his attraction to his own niece, do something disastrous?”

Some biographers write that the sexual passion displayed in this play, reflects Miller’s affair with Marilyn Monroe, which ruined his marriage.

Eddie (Peter Gregory) is his character, and we see his soul. We feel his anguish as he tries to sort out his feelings. Gregory plays him raw to the core. Even as we follow his obsession, the audience is afraid of the consequences he will face.

Gregory has performed Off-Broadway, at Williamstown, and has lengthy film credits. Do not miss his performance.

(Left) Maria O’Conner, as Beatrice,  tries to defend why she can’t go to Catherine’s (Isabella Di Bernarndino) wedding.                                               Photo: RICH SCHMITT/CTN

As Eddie’s wife Beatrice (Maria O’Conner), who is a favorite at Theatre Palisades, she brings a depth to the character, in what may be her best role to date.

The two immigrants that come to live with the family, Rodolpho (Darren M.B.) and Marco (Monty Renfrow), are a delight to watch.

Darren has performed in the Avenue Q 10th Anniversary Broadway cast and on numerous television shows—not only does he bring a lightness to a character, but he can also sing!

Renfrow is perfect as the immigrant trying to make enough money to send back to his wife and children.

Catherine (Isabella DiBernardino) plays her character perfectly—an 18-year-old trying to break from the household and become an adult, but still questioning the right course.

The lawyer Alfieri (Jason Culp) serves as a “Greek” chorus for this tragedy. Well-cast, Alfieri has been featured on Days of Our Lives and General Hospital.

Other actors in the plays Louis (Andrew Chase), Mike (Christopher Landis), Immigration officers (David T. Downs), (Joshua Farrell) and (Eric Shaffer) are making their Theatre Palisades debut, and all are excellent.

Cate Caplin, in her director’s notes writes: “This is a story about love, desire and personal honor. . . .Arthur Miller’s writing is richly layered and universally poignant.” Caplin has brought out the best in her cast and one hopes she’ll be back to direct a future production.

In a New York Times 1955 story, noted that “A View From the Bridge, has power and substance. It is based on a story Mr. Miller once heard in the Brooklyn neighborhood where he lives. Eddie, an ordinary longshoreman, in unconsciously in love with his niece-the daughter of his wife’s dead sister. Early in the play two of his wife’s Italian relatives are smuggled in and start to live furtively in Eddie’s apartment. Catherine, the niece, falls in love with the younger Italian brother and proposes to marry him.

“Eddie does not understand why he opposes the marriage so violently, nor do any of the other people who are involved. Searching around for a plausible reason, Eddie convinces himself that the young Italian is a homosexual whose only motive in marrying Catherine is a chance to legitimize his citizenship in America. But Eddie’s real motive is the undeclared, unrecognized, unappeased hunger he has for himself. Like the heroes of Greek tragedy, he topples the whole house down on himself in the final catastrophe of a haunted play.”

Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. through April 28, at Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road. There is free parking. For tickets: (310) 454-1970 or www.theatrepalisades.org.

Eddie (Peter Gregory) speaks to the lawyer Alfieri played by Jason Culp.
Photo: RICH SCMITT/CTN

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