Rockville Little Theatre A View From the BridgeBy Don Michael Mendoza • Sep 19th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Rockville Little Theatre
F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville, MD
Through September 25th
2:30 with one intermission
$16/$14 Seniors and Students
Reviewed September 16th, 2011
A View From the Bridge presents the story of Eddie Carbone, a man concerned with loyalty, reputation and family, but unhealthily obsessed with preventing his niece, Catherine, from ever growing up, and narrated by Eddie’s counsel, Alfieri.
The play begins in Eddie’s home where the audience meets his wife Beatrice, and Catherine in a discussion of whether his young niece will receive his blessing to work. Soon after, Beatrice’s cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, come to New York illegally to stay with them to find employment. As the story progresses, the young Catherine falls in love with the flamboyant, caring Rodolpho, which contributes to Eddie’s slow decline from loving, overprotective uncle to an obsessed, plotting maniac.
Arthur Miller is not known for writing comedies, but director Kevin O’Connell found ways to highlight the lighter, comedic moments to prevent a tragic story from being tragic from the start. The major shift in moods between scenes and moments were well identified and provided the correct overall journey for each character. O’Connell also did a great job of creating the atmosphere of living in Brooklyn with ensemble members playing people passing by the Carbone home in the street.
The narrator Alfieri, played warmly by Bob Ashby (Editor’s note: Bob is a reviewer for ShowBizRadio.), acknowledged that he told the story “like a dream” as he recalled events from memory. That line was memorable because it described exactly how the show read from the audience. Although the connections between characters were real, small aspects like their accents, overseen by dialect coach Gary Sullivan, at times proved too distracting and often made the characters, specifically Marco, Rodolpho and Catherine, seem like caricatures rather than real people.
But accents aside, Beatrice, played by Alyssa Sanders, and Catherine, played by Lizzi Albert, both found a wonderful dynamic in the relationship between an aunt and niece full of teen angst who live in the shadow of their overbearing patriarch. Marco, played by Heath Dillard, and Rodolpho, played by Jeff McDermott, gave good performances as light-hearted, fresh-faced immigrants looking for new opportunities in America.
The most moving performance of the evening, however, came from Eddie, played by Michael J. Galizia, who provided an excellent character transformation from start to finish. He was able to draw up feelings of conflict for those in the audience who understand the difficult process of a parent letting a child go, and wowed viewers when he took that process to the obsessive extreme. Amid a few line slip-ups that could be chalked up to opening night jitters, Galizia gave a commanding and impressive performance overall.
On the show’s technical side, some scene transitions were too slow and left the audience in an extended amount of time in the dark, detracting from the overall experience, but the lighting design by Peter Caress was quite impressive. The set, designed by Bill Brown and Eric Henry, combined with scenic designer Melanie Papasian’s cartoon-like, bright colors contributed to the theme of Alfieri’s memory recall. Fight choreography provided by Carl Long was well executed by Galizia. Costumes by Sarah Kendrick and set dressings by Nancy Eynon Lark were all period appropriate and gave a good sense of authenticity to the scenes presented.
A View from the Bridge is a great lesson in letting go, growing up and the pain that can come with unwanted change, so be sure to catch an opportunity to see one of Arthur Miller’s best dramas.
Arthur Miller wrote that his literary forerunner Henrik Ibsen’s greatest gift to playwrights was the example he created with his “insistence, his utter conviction, that he is going to say what he has to say, and that the audience, by God, is going to listen. It is the very same quality,” Miller continued, “that makes a star actor, a great public speaker, and a lunatic. Every Ibsen play begins with the unwritten words: “Now, listen here!”
Miller found in this quality of Ibsen’s “a profound source of strength.” Like Ibsen, Miller is clear about what he wants to say and compels his audience to pay attention and understand it. A View from the Bridge is a prime example of this straightforward style, a cause-and-effect tragedy of the common man that proceeds relentlessly to its inevitable end.
It is now the job of the star actors, great public speakers, and lunatics who make up the extraordinary cast and crew of our production to tell this story. What more can a director add? Maybe just this: Now listen here!
- Louis: Phil Kibak
- Mike: George Tamerlani
- Alfieri: Bob Ashby
- Eddie: Michael J. Galizia
- Catherine: Lizzi Albert
- Beatrice: Alyssa Sanders
- Marco: Heath Dillard
- Tony: Patrick Opitz
- Rodolpho: Jeff McDermott
- Charly: Gary Sullivan
- Dominick: Art Salwin
- Mr. Lipari: Pat Miller
- Mrs. Lipari: Dominique Marro
- Submarine: Patrick Opitz
- Mrs. Dondero: Jaqueline Sternberg
- Neighbors: Jessamine Hickson and Lavin Kelly
- Producers: Malca Giblin and Elaine Hoover
- Director: Kevin O’Connell
- Stage Manager: Diane Pick
- Assistant Director: Caroline Duffy
- Set Design: Bill Brown and Eric Henry
- Master Carpenter: Eric Henry
- Scenic Design: Melanie Papasian
- Construction and Painting Crew: Frank Adler, Drew Casterano, Mary Dalto, Brian Dettling, Caroline Duffy, Tony Dwyer, Malca Giblin, Ivonne Gonzalez, Dave Kaysen, David Levin, Jeff McDermott, Pat Miller, Sander Mulder, Kevin O’Connell, Patrick Opitz
- Properties: Mary Dalto
- Set Dressing: Nancy Eynon Lark
- Lighting Design: Peter Caress
- Lighting Execution: Asma Husna
- Sound Design: Kevin O’Connell
- Sound Execution: Caroline Duffy
- Costumes: Sarah Kendrick, Charlotte Hankin
- Hair and Makeup: Malca Giblin
- Dialect Coach: Gary Sullivan
- Fight Choreographer: Carl Brandt Long
- Dance Choreographer: Charlotte Hankin
- Program Design: Annette Kalicki and David Levin
- Graphic for Program Cover: Mary Dalto
- Publicity: Ken Kemp
- Stage Crew: Meem Haque, Ananto Islam, Ramah Eynon Lark, Amina Mainuddin, Asmira Nainuddin
- House Manager: Jean Case
- Reception and Concessions: Fran Levin
Disclaimer: Rockville Little Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/7167.
Don Michael Mendoza studied musical theatre and journalism at American University. He's concurrently employed with American University Communications and is the volunteer Theatre Coordinator for BloomBars - a not-for-profit arts center in Columbia Heights - since graduating in 2010. He is also an active actor in the DC/MD/VA region participating in multiple plays and musicals a year.