Life has a way of forcing us to make choices–choices that we sometimes regret and choices that we regret but can never take back. These life-changing decisions are what Ivo Van Hove brings to the stage at The Goodman Theatre, where we witness the life of one man’s choices that will forever change the lives of those around him.
Tony Award winner Van Hove’s remarkable re-imagining of Arthur Miller’s “A View From The Bridge” takes us on a journey of this provocative tale of discovery and exploration with heavy symbolism, allegory, and imagery infused into poignant characters. Van Hove introduces us to a very immersive experience by allowing the audience to have the opportunity to plunge directly into the drama with on-stage seating (via being on a bridge) which allowed us to witness the scenes up close for a different perspective.
This American tragedy set in 1955 begins in an Italian American neighborhood near the Brooklyn Bridge (Red Hook) in New York. The play is very intense with daring and bold scenes of drama that will provoke your intellect with the most unspeakable thoughts of ambivalence.
The play opens up with Alfieri (Ezra Knight) who was raised in the 1900s in Italy but now is working as an American lawyer in New York. He narrates the story of Eddie Carbone (Ian Bedford), an Italian American longshoreman who lives with his wife, Beatrice (Andrus Nichols), and her orphaned niece, Catherine (Catherine Combs).
There is a bridge emerging within Eddie Carbone that his lawyer friend can see from a mile away, but he is conflicted by his choice of standing still knowing that there is a seed growing within Eddie that is materializing into an improper love, lust, obsession, of jealousy and thoughts of revenge.
Although Eddie is presumed to be a good man, one can quickly see his possessive and affectionate love that he shares for his niece Catherine. These sexually improper thoughts that plague Eddie’s mind are due to the strong passion that he has for her. The orphaned niece, who is living with them, is grateful to Eddie and cares about him like a father; however, she is unaware of his desire towards her.
Eddie’s unnatural feelings for his niece start to affect his marriage; and the little girl he could always count on meeting him at the door with hugs and kisses is now a burgeoning young lady who is discovering her sexuality and experimenting with a new makeover. Eddie doesn’t like her maturing because he thinks others will now find her attractive too.
He tries but seemingly fails to repress his feelings; his overprotective opinions about her showing too much leg and her walking provocatively is evident to his wife Beatrice, who recognizes his unnatural lust for Catherine and believes it’s the main reason she hasn’t been “with” Eddie for three months.
After criticizing Catherine’s new look and her wanting to get a job, which would bring her too close to other men, Eddie is now faced with another dilemma; his two immigrant cousins from Italy are coming to live with them. He seems content to help them live the American dream; however, when one of the young men Rodolpho (Daniel Abeles) falls for his niece Catherine, Eddie conjures up a story that his cousin is queer and is using his niece to get a green card to become legalized in America. Rodolpho’s desire to be with Catherine amounts to betrayal to Eddie so Eddie tries to end the fairytale romance by speaking to a lawyer named Alfieri regarding Rodolpho.
After talking to Alfieri and being told repeatedly that there was nothing he can do legally to break up their romance, Eddie is enraged with jealousy and tries to get the brothers deported. This opens the door for mistrust and this leads to the ineffable secret, which ultimately drives him to commit the definitive betrayal. A call to the deportation office is the measure in which he seeks to end his anxieties for a love that was taboo; however, this choice, this final decision, is the beginning of his demise.
Hove is a Belgian theatre director known as the artistic director of Toneelgroep, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands and has won two Obie Awards for Best Production of an off-Broadway production in New York. Van Hove, who likes surprises, provided us with a somewhat predictable ending; however, the final scene was attention-grabbing and will take you by surprise. The play has been getting rave reviews, but we ask that you go see it for yourself and let us know what you think.
The cast includes:
Daniel Abeles (Rodolpho).
Ian Bedford (Eddie Carbone)
Catherine Combs (Catherine)
Ronald Connor (Louis)
Brandon Espinoza (Marco)
James D. Farruggio (Officer)
Ezra Knight (Alfieri)
Andrus Nichols (Beatrice)