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Arthur Miller Society to Host Syrian-Muslim Interpretation of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

The Arthur Miller Society presents the premiere of a Syrian-Muslim interpretation of Arthur Miller's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE created and directed by Brooke Ciardelli at the Arthur Miller Centennial sponsored by St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, NY.

CAST INCLUDES: Laith Nakli, Lanna Joffrey, Ramsey Faragallah, Babak Tafti, Hadi Tabbal, Rasha Zamamiri, Osh Ghanimah, Omar Koury, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Bob Turano, David Lansbury . . . additional casting to be announced. [PHOTOS BELOW]

Brooke Ciardelli has created the Syrian-Muslim version and will direct a reading performed on the 100th birthday of Mr. Miller, sixty years after the first production premiered on Broadway at The Coronet Theater (Sept 29, 1955).

"By refocusing Miller's lens on the Muslim-American community, we can better understand how the ongoing struggle of immigrants doesn't change; only the faces and nationalities are different," said Ciardelli. This is truly a "moment when great events both at home and abroad [cry] out for recognition and analytic inspection." (Arthur Miller, Introduction to A View From the Bridge, 1955, Methuen 2010.)

Written in 1955, the play is a gripping family drama set within a tightly knit Italian-Catholic immigrant community in Brooklyn, NY. In this new production, the central family will be updated to Syrian-Muslim-Americans. Ciardelli comments, "Although the countries and cultures have changed, the issues surrounding immigration are still at the heart of American politics, and there is no greater play that confronts these issues than A View From The Bridge."

Inspired by the current immigration challenges facing the U.S. and the 2012 British Museum exhibit Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam, Ciardelli began the process of transposing the original to the modern Syrian-Muslim-American interpretation. In this version, the country of origin is shifted from Italy to Syria, including the addition of some Arabic language and changes to names and locations within the text.

Ciardelli worked closely with a group of cultural advisors, literary scholars and Miller representatives in the creation of this interpretation. Careful consideration was taken in the selection of Syria, "On one hand, Syria is a politically charged choice, but on the other, it is the best match to the story as Mr. Miller originally conceived it." References to Rome are transposed to Damascus, while small fishing villages exist on the coastlines Italy and Syria and immigrants from both countries have had periods of great immigration out of their homelands to the United States.

The struggle of immigration is universal, but particularly acute for those trying to assimilate into America while staying true to the cultures and customs of their home country. For a post-World War II Italian-Catholic, or a post-9/11 Arab-Muslim, these competing forces remain the same. "I agree that cultural bridges between our peoples are maybe more important, and will be more lasting, than any other kind of connection." (Arthur Miller, Letter, 1988.)

Dawood Yasin, Muslim Life Advisor at the Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, comments "This project is of great importance given the national debate about the Muslim immigrant experience in the US, and more specifically the issues surrounding Arab-American Muslims. . . the arts, and more specifically the theater, represent an ideal forum for these ideas to be explored."

Stephen Marino, Editor of The Arthur Miller Journal, comments "This new version shows how these same emotions can infect an Arab-American family in contemporary Brooklyn." Vermont Arts Council Executive Director, Alex Aldrich continues "The result, given the basic story line, the setting, and the creative genius of Ms. Ciardelli, is sure to kindle the interest of an entirely new generation in the works of one of America's most important literary artists."

Miller's political concerns are ever-present in his plays, which have won a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Awards. His most celebrated works call into question the American dream by exploring our national conscience on a domestic level.

The popularity of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is evidenced by the 2010 revival that earned Scarlett Johansson a Tony Award and the 2015 Young Vic/Lincoln Center London import, which previews Oct 21, opening Nov 12 for a limited 18-week run at the Lyceum Theater, NYC (2015 Olivier Awards for Best Revival, Best Actor and Best Director. It was named the top theater pick of the year by Evening Standard, The Guardian and The Independent. The Times called it "one of the great theatrical productions of the decade.")

In 2010, Ben Brantley (NYT) commented on A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE saying"...certain plays, like certain operas, are rich enough to be revisited as often and as long as there are performers with strong, original voices and fresh insights."

The Syrian-Muslim version will be performed at the Arthur Miller Centennial Oct 17, 2015 with Laith Nakli, Ramsey Faragallah, Babak Tafti, Lanna Joffrey and Fajer Al-Kaisi leading the cast, directed by Brooke Ciardelli.


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