BWW Reviews: Gripping Arthur Miller Production Opens Mad Horse Season
South Portland's Mad Horse Theatre Company opened its 2024-2015 season with a riveting revival of Arthur Miller's 1955 tragedy, A View from the Bridge, which in the hands of this talented ensemble proves as relevant and wrenching as it was almost sixty years ago.
Miller's family drama about an Italian-American longshoreman struggling to make not only a living in the shadowy world of the Brooklyn waterfront, but also to make some sense of his life, which has been turned upside down by the arrival of his wife's cousins. As in all of Miller's plays, Eddie Carbone's tragedy is both an intimate, personal one and one with the monumental repercussions of a Greek drama,. Thus, brilliantly and idiomatically captured as it is by this brave little theatre company, situated on the rocky seaport coast of Maine some four hundred miles north of Brooklyn's docks. The fall of this "little man" still resonates with mighty pathos and universal meaning.
Christopher Price's direction lets the tension mount with chilling intensity, as he draws sensitive performances from each of the actors, and he uses the intimacy of the black box theatre effectively to engage his audience further. Stacey Koloski provides a serviceable, minimalist set design enhanced by Christine Louise Marshall's props and costumes, all of which evoke the shabby Brooklyn apartment. Corey Anderson's lighting and Scott Leland's sound design successfully complete the visual context.
William McDonough III endows Eddie Carbone with the perfect blend of simmering frustration, anger, repressed passion, and a clumsy, bewildered incomprehension of the accelerating events around him. As it must for Miller's drama to work, Eddie remains sympathetic in his wrongheadedness, misguided by what Alifieri calls the "holy truth," and McDonough achieves this masterfully. As his long-suffering wife Beatrice, Christine Louise Marshall delivers a luminous performance of quiet intensity, giving us a seemingly meek woman with a core of steel, and a heart capable of forgiveness. Kat Moraros is positively radiant as Catherine, girlish and womanly by turns, vulnerable and emotionally volatile.
Burke Brimmer brings a quiet dignity combined with a smouldering strength that ultimately erupts into violence. Nate Speckman strikes just the right note of sympathy and strangeness as his younger brother Rodolpho, whose sensitivity and gentle unconventionality mark him as a target for Eddie's distrust and disgust. Brent Askari brings a wise, chastened, and tragically helpless presence to the lawyer/narrator Alfieri; from the start he is able to intimate the impending doom which hangs over the characters and like the Greek chorus mournfully recount the events he is powerfulness to prevent.
The remainder of the cast contributes excellent cameos with Christopher Hoffman as Louis, Robbie Harrison as Mike, David Branch and Sean St. Louis-Farrelly as the immigration officers, and Max Aranson as "Submarine." And as an ensemble, they should be complimented for the consistency and accuracy of their dialect work. Then, too, because Mad Horse is a resident company, it is invigorating to get to see many of the same company members take on new challenges which stretch them as actors.
Once again the Mad Horse Theatre demonstrates its virtuosity, as well as its artistic adventurousness and integrity as a company. To present the American classics is an often neglected duty of modern theatre ensembles, but Mad Horse rises to the challenge here, reminding us of the rich and complex heritage of our great playwrights.
Photos courtesy of Mad Horse Theatre, Craig Robinson, photographer
A View from the Bridge runs from October 2-19, 2014 at Mad Horse Theatre Company, 24 Mosher St., South Portland, ME, Christine Louse Marshall, Artistic Director www.madhorse.com 207-747-4148