Arthur Miller's THE HOOK to Make US Premiere in Brooklyn
Brooklyn's Brave New World Repertory Theatre (BNW) will present two site-specific developmental staged readings of The Hook, adapted by Brooklyn-based writer Ron Hutchinson from Arthur Miller's unproduced screenplay and directed by Claire Beckman who will use the pier, gangways and barge of The Waterfront Museum moored in Red Hook as a stage. The performances are set for Saturday June 22 and Sunday June 23 at 7pm (details below). A full production is planned in 2020.
The staged readings of The Hook serve as kickoff of BNW's Arthur Miller Red Hook Festival 2019, which also features a return engagement of their acclaimed 2018 production of A View From The Bridge in September.
Claire Beckman, co-founder/producing artistic director of BNW says "The Hook is an invaluable complementary piece to A View From The Bridge, which we are remounting in September onboard The Waterfront Museum. View is more of a domestic drama within the same gritty world of the waterfront. The Hook captures the life and death struggle on the docks where the ever-present danger to the workers and their families was both from the job itself and the mobsters who controlled the docks."
Of The Hook, she says "The performances will begin in front of 100-year-old Lehigh Valley No. 79 railroad barge, with the audience gathered on the pier, the way longshoremen waited to for work selection at the 'Shape Up'. After this dramatic prologue, the actors will lead the audience onto the barge." Beckman hopes the immersive setting will viscerally capture the fight for human dignity that is the central theme of the play.
Beckman credits David Sharps, director and captain of The Waterfront Museum "for bringing Miller's story to the US. "David introduced the UK team to me and Brave New World Rep. We are thrilled to be partnering with Captain Dave again, as we continue our dramatic explorations of the waterfront."
The Hook of the title is Red Hook, Brooklyn. It is also the classic tool of a longshoreman; an extension of his arm, a claw for gripping heavy crates and sacks of goods - or for use in a fight. The play gives a closer look at the tightly-knit working class community doing the dangerous work of loading and unloading the ships. Back-breaking work which made New York the world's richest and most important harbor.
Both BNW and Beckman have a history with Arthur Miller, arguably Brooklyn's greatest 20th century playwright. BNW has previously produced acclaimed productions of two other Miller classics: The Crucible in 2010 and The American Clock in 2011, in addition to View in 2018.
Red Hook's legendary century-old longshoremen hangout, Sunny's Bar, is the featured community sponsor of The Hook. Owner Tone Balzano Johansen says, "Supporting and creating culture is part of our history."
The screenplay of The Hook, arguably the template for On The Waterfront, lay untouched for almost seventy years until British designer Patrick Connellan unearthed the original material, including Miller's handwritten notes. A stage version was produced at the UK's Northampton Theatre Royal in 2015. It was inspired by the true story of Pete Panto, a young dockworker who stood up to the corrupt Mafia-connected union leadership. Panto was kidnapped on a local street, murdered by The Mob and his body dumped in New Jersey. The movie was never made. When studio heads demanded the systemic corruption on the docks be attributed to Communism instead of The Mob, Miller pulled the plug, uninterested in writing "red scare" propaganda. He wrote A View From The Bridge instead.
Brave New World Rep Presents
Saturday June 22 + Sunday June 23 at 7:00pm
The Waterfront Museum
290 Conover St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Tickets: $25 walk up, $20 online advance, $18 senior/student
Purchase tickets here