Eddie is a docker, and proud of it. He is a man who keeps his word. He has fought, his whole life, to keep his promise of bringing
Eddie is a docker, and proud of it. He is a man who keeps his word. He has fought, his whole life, to keep his promise of bringing up Catherine, the niece of his wife Beatrice, and to guarantee a bright future for the young orphan. For years now, he has been bleeding himself dry in order to watch over her. Though perhaps a little over jealously. Eddie fails to see that she has become a woman. But what he does see, all too well, are the sideways glances that men now give her. For Eddie, the succession of days has remained, up until now, suspended in an eternal present. Everybody kept their unchanging places, adults played their role as adults and children did not grow up. As yet, nothing has troubled his near-paternal love. But this has not stopped Katie from coming of age, and from starting to dress in a way designed to please. And the moment when it will be her turn to experience the first tinges of desire is just around the corner…
The drama starts up with the fateful evening when Katie informs Eddie of her wish to begin earning a living. Thanks to her studies, paid for by Eddie, her salary as a junior stenographer will be greater than that of the docker who has brought her up. That same evening, Eddie agrees to house two illegal immigrants, Marco, quiet and thoughtful, and his brother Rodolpho, a singer. They are his wife’s cousins, and he offers them shelter out of family solidarity… From that moment on, all the elements of the drama are there. Its merciless story is related to us by Alfieri, the voice, witness and faithful reminder of Eddie Carbone’s destiny. Alfieri, of Italian birth but now an adopted American, finds himself torn between the values of his two mother countries, between the absolutisms of traditional codes of honour, and the need for compromise. He too is a man of his word, but above all he is a man of law. He stands on the bridge between two worlds and two eras. And between the stage, on which the episodes of the drama are played out, and the audience who are watching the play, at a distance from which the secret life of the Red Hook community is there for us to see in its true perspective.
A view from afar: the not uncommon story of humble immigrants in working-class New York during the 1950’s. It is almost a sociological enquiry into the difficulties of integration amongst Italian-American dockers, in the shadow of the colossal Brooklyn bridge. A view from the bridge: a tragedy as ancient as the conflict between law and justice, or between reality and desire. From this account of a few decisive days in the lives of Eddie Carbone and those around him, Arthur Miller summons up the stuff of unending intrigue.
Drawing upon the author’s every word, Ivo van Hove’s production brings out the work in all its sharpness by prompting the actors to go beyond the purely anecdotal in search of true intensity. Their confrontations take place in a pared-down, tri-frontal space, as timeless as the fate of which Alfieri is the chorus, and Eddie the protagonist. Van Hove’s vision of the play was one of last season’s highlights. Its success was such that a re-run was inevitable. The initial cast remains unchanged, with Charles Berling in the role of Eddie Carbone.