Here Juliet, associate director of York Theatre Royal, breaks off from rehearsals to talk to Stage Review about why she chose to direct a revival of this iconic drama.
“I consider it an extraordinary text and a brilliant and unforgettable experience as an audience member seeing the play,” she said.
“It’s a play that I really love. Look at the climate in this country – and across the world really – of the shifting attitude and antagonism towards immigration, particularly that idea of economic immigration”.
In 1950s New York respected longshoreman Eddie Carbone lives a life of seeming stability with his wife and niece in a tight knit, immigrant community bound by moral codes of justice and honour.
The surprise arrival of his wife’s Sicilian cousins unravels all that they have built together as the young men search out work, wealth and love.
Juliet went on: “The play brilliantly introduces these immigrant characters in a way that allows us to sympathise with them and understand they are not a threat.
“It should be a basic human right that we can move to where there is work so we can feed our family, and this comes through powerfully.
“It’s a really strong theme in the play even though it’s the back story to the central story of what happens to Eddie Carbone.
“The play also raises questions around different models of masculinity and that’s also something that feels very current to our world.
“It also explores what could drive someone to betray everything they believe in and destroy everything they hold dear – this is what really makes the play so vital and dramatic.
“So you are talking about a fantastic story and brilliant text already, in what feels a very contemporary setting and a universal story despite being set in 1950s Brooklyn Italian-American community.
“It is an extraordinary bunch of actors. A lot of them are based in the North of England and Scotland rather than London so it’s quite nice to be working with our regionally based actors.
“I am interested in the migrancy themes in the play. I was interested in expanding the relevance of the story, beyond the very specific Italian-American setting, by recruiting a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and nationality.
“This is a play that spreads out into being quite a global issue instead of being focused on just one community.
”It’s a very exciting cast and really strong company. Some represent different areas of the world and relate to the immigrants story through their parents.
“In Arthur Miller’s autobiography, Timebends, he talks about going to see an extract from A View from the Bridge done at a drama school, performed by a Korean Eddie, a Jewish Beatrice, a Black Marco and a Chinese Rodolpho, and how surprised and moved he was by the raw force of the acting, which stayed with him for a long time.
“Reading that made me want to see that version! The power of the drama, of Miler’s writing and the dynamics of the relationships in the play, seemed to me to be bigger than the confines of the setting, and relevant to all of us”.
The production stars Nicholas Karimi as Eddie Carbone. He is joined by Mete Dursun, Reuben Johnson, Pedro Leandro, Lili Miller, Robert Pickavance, Daniel Poyser, Laura Pyper and Andrew Squires.
A View from the Bridge is at York Theatre Royal from this Friday until October 12, and Royal and Derngate, Northampton, from October 15 – 26.
Rehearsal images by Chris Payne.For a full gallery go to Stage Review’s Facebook page.