A View From the Bridge is one of the more popular plays studied in English literature classes, but it is also an example of some of Arthur Miller’s genius when portraying the conflicts of people’s daily lives – and next week, it will be gracing the stage of Bedlam Theatre.
It is the narrator of the play, Alfieri, who says sometimes there’s too much love, which is certainly true for this play as it depicts the life of a family battling against familial and romantic tension in their small home near the Brooklyn Bridge in the 1950s. Sitting in Teviot House on a gloomy day, I interviewed Andra Gavin, the director, and cast members Tilly Botsford, Eleanor Crowe, Henry Coldstream and Paddy Echlin as we discussed their plans for the show and what audiences can look forward to.
Gavin’s interpretation of this much loved piece looks to reach the core of these issues but she has also gone to great lengths to ensure her cast are comfortable with each other as they perform, making this a great collaboration between director and cast. She comments on how ‘ it is quite interesting because so many people studied it at school… everyone who is in it pretty much had an idea of it before coming on board’. This seemed an advantage as, while ‘doing characterisation work, everyone already had ideas about characters and their relationship’ making the rehearsal process so much easier and clearer.
This has clearly made an impression on the actors as Botsford described how the play ‘doesn’t allow you to switch off’, adding that ‘you have to pop out’ of character. Already a tense and complex play, this attention to characterisation certainly promises an immersive experience for audiences coming and, as Coldstream added, this is ‘a very continuous play’ which has ensured there will be no break for the audience. Crowe commented on how ‘you have to really access… a much sadder emotion’ and it is clear Gavin has worked hard to bring, what Botsford refers to as ‘a natural, real family dynamic’ to life on the stage to the point of intense emotion.
When asked what the audience should expect from their telling of this story Echlin reassured us that ‘you don’t need to be a theatre buff to love it, it is very full on, very action packed, and it’s a really good watch’. It seems this production will definitely attempt to connect with audiences as Crowe comments on how this is an important play to see as it ‘touches on really strong themes that students don’t often have access to’.
With the Edinburgh Univeristy Theatre Company’s previous success with Miller’s plays, like The Crucible two years ago, this is a show that promises to celebrate Miller’s writing with a depth of understanding and emotion.
Runs from 25th – 28th October
Photo Credit: Edinburgh University Theatre Company