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A View from the Bridge
A View from the Bridge cover.jpg
First edition cover.
Written by Arthur Miller
Date premiered 29 September 1955
Place premiered Coronet Theatre (now Eugene O'Neill Theatre)
New York City
Original language English
Genre Tragedy
Setting The apartment and environment of Eddie Carbone
IBDB profile
IOBDB profile

A View from the Bridge is a play by American playwright Arthur Miller first staged on 29 September 1955 as a one-act verse drama with A Memory of Two Mondays at the Coronet Theatre on Broadway. The two-act version frequently produced today appeared a year later, in 1956. It is set in 1950s America, in an Italian American neighborhood under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Contents

Plot summary

The main character in the story is Eddie Carbone, an Italian American longshoreman, who lives with his wife, Beatrice and his orphaned niece, Catherine. They live in an insular, self-ruled neighborhood known as a polis. As the play begins, Eddie is protective and kind toward Catherine, although his feelings grow into something more than avuncular as the play develops. His attachment to her is brought into perspective by the arrival from Italy of Beatrice's two cousins, Marco and Rodolpho. They have entered the country illegally, hoping to leave behind hunger and unemployment for a better life in America, and to help build a better life for those they've left behind. Charming Rodolpho is young, good-looking, blond, and single, and he sings and dances; Catherine instantly falls for him.

Eddie sets about pointing out all of Rodolpho's flaws and persistently complains that Rodolpho is "not right," referring to Rodolpho's effeminate qualities, such as dress-making, cooking and singing.

When Catherine decides to marry Rodolpho, Eddie becomes desperate and begs his lawyer to help him. However, he is told that the only way the law is able to help him is if he informs the Immigration Bureau of the presence of the two illegal immigrants. Due to his earlier assertion that "it's an honor" to give the men refuge, he refuses to betray them. However, after he catches Rodolpho making love to Catherine, he immediately calls the Immigration Bureau. His betrayal of the two men causes Eddie to lose the respect of his neighbors, friends his family.

In the final scene of the play, Eddie and Marco fight. Marco calls Eddie by his full name. Eddie brandishes a knife and attacks Marco, but the stronger Marco turns the blade onto Eddie, killing him.

In the final pages of the play, Miller provides stage directions that specify characters' emotions. For example, when Eddie concedes to let Catherine work, the stage directions indicate that he relents with "a sense of her childhood, her babyhood and the years."

Inspiration

Miller's interest in writing about the world of the New York docks originated with an unproduced screenplay that he developed with Elia Kazan in the early 1950s, entitled The Hook, dealing with corruption on the Brooklyn docks. Miller has been quoted as saying that he heard the basic account that developed into the plot of A View from the Bridge from a longshoreman, who related it to him as a true story. Although the 1955 one-act production was not successful, it was revised in 1956 to become a more traditional prose play in two acts, and it is through this version that audiences are most familiar with the work today.

Productions

  • Dustin Hoffman acted as assistant director and stage manager for a successful 1965 production of the play Off-Broadway at the Sheridan Square Playhouse in New York City. The play's director, Ulu Grosbard, suggested to Arthur Miller that Hoffman would one day make a great Willie Loman (a role that Hoffman would later play to great acclaim). Miller was not impressed, and later wrote that "My estimate of Grosbard all but collapsed as, observing Dustin Hoffman’s awkwardness and his big nose that never seemed to get unstuffy, I wondered how the poor fellow imagined himself a candidate for any kind of acting career."[2]
  • In London, the play was first performed at the Comedy Theatre, on October 11, 1956.[citation needed]

Adaptations

Opera

In 1999, an opera of A View from the Bridge with music by William Bolcom and a libretto by Arthur Miller premiered at Lyric Opera of Chicago starring Kim Josephson as Eddie Carbone. The work was performed subsequently at the Metropolitan Opera in 2002, again at the Washington National Opera in 2007, and by Vertical Player Repertory Opera in 2009, starring William Browning as Eddie.[citation needed]

Film

Italian film director Luchino Visconti directed a stage version of the play in Italy in 1958. The plot of his film Rocco and his brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli), made in 1960, has many affinities with A View from the Bridge.[5]

A film based on A View from the Bridge titled Vu du pont was released in February 1961. Directed by Sidney Lumet, it starred Raf Vallone and Maureen Stapleton as Eddie and Beatrice, with Carol Lawrence as Catherine.[6]

In 2005, a new film version of A View From the Bridge was announced. It may be directed by Barry Levinson, with Anthony LaPaglia as Eddie, Scarlett Johansson as Catherine, and Frances McDormand as Beatrice.[7]

TV

A UK TV dramatisation of the play exists made during the 1980s.

Awards and nominations

Awards
  • 1998 Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play
  • 1998 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play
Nominations
  • 1983 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play

References

  1. ^ a b c d A View from the Bridge at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. ^ "Dustin Hoffman Biography". Tiscali. 2008. http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/biographies/dustin-hoffman-biog/9. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  3. ^ A View From The Bridge: Reviews (Original Ayckbourn Production, National Theatre, London, 1987)
  4. ^ a b Ben Brantley (January 25, 2010). "A View From Brooklyn of Tragedy Most Classic". The New York Times. http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/theater/reviews/25view.html?pagewanted=print. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  5. ^ Rohdie, Sam (1992). "Rocco and His Brothers - Rocco e i suoi fratelli". British Film Institute Publications. 
  6. ^ Vu du pont at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Michael Fleming (15 February 2005). "The Bigscreen 'View': Cast, Helmer Set for Miller Play Adaptation". variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117918047.html. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 

Further reading

External links


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