A View From the Bridge
One of the gifts that made Arthur Miller such a significant dramatic writer was his ability to capture the world of Greek tragedy – on the face of it an unfamiliar theatrical landscape with its dark blood feuds, incest and primal passions – and make it significant to the modern world.
The director of this new touring production of A View From the Bridge, Lindsay Posner, sees this as essential to the play’s success. Without the underpinnings of Miller’s ancient model, the story of Eddie Carbone, a working class postwar everyman, his passion for his niece and his betrayal of both family and community as a result of his repression, would make no sense. ‘It’s inescapable really, it has a relentless drive, a rhythm that works like a Greek tragedy, so you have to incorporate it, to make the play work,’ Posner says. ‘I think that’s one of its great strengths, it has a universal relevance and has that kind of terror that the great early Greek plays do. At the same time it’s a really great domestic tragedy about working class Brooklyn longshoremen from immigrant Italian families.’
Posner also asserts that the play can still present a commentary on contemporary multicultural Britain. ‘It certainly still has something to say about the issue of immigration,’ he says. ‘Nowadays you can see that whether it’s a Muslim, Asian or Polish community, those groups do have their own forms of law that don’t always correspond to British law.’ As Carbone, Ken Stott, making a rare return to the Scottish stage, is also a clever piece of casting. ‘He was born to play it really – he has all the emotional and physical range that it requires,’ Posner asserts. ‘One of his parents, his mother, was Italian, so he’s very acquainted with the culture. Also, I think Scottish and Irish actors in particular seem to have a facility with American – he’s very good with the language.’
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon 1–Sat 6 Jun