Event: A View from the Bridge
Venue: Drama Barn
The smell of cigarette smoke wafted out of the entrance to the drama barn. This boded well for a production of 1950s play, a decade notorious for chain-smoking. “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller, is supposedly based on a true story and this production engaged that very effectively.
From the first, the audience was drawn into the languid atmosphere of anticipation of Miller’s setting, produced through the two stereotypical individuals playing cards on the stage before the play began. However, the stereotypes gave way to characters played with such conviction and emotion that the reality they created onstage was inescapable. In particular, Danie Linsell, who played Beatrice, was outstanding in her character development and her ability to sustain her American Italian accent so successfully. Unsurprisingly, some of the other actors found the accent difficult to sustain, however this mattered little in engaging the audience’s emotions and the performance drew many laughs. The inflection of emotions in the actors’ voices, especially James Wilkes, might even have drawn tears, if they had not so often been turned away from the audience at crucial points in the play.
In general, the set was meticulous in its 1950s details as were the costumes and the music. However, the graffiti’ed walls seemed completely incongruous, mainly because the rest of the performance worked so smoothly. With fast scene changes, evocative lighting and extremely well chosen records, that this attempt to bring the play into modern times was incompatible. The play’s universal, timeless appeal lies in its themes of loyalty and love and needs to be set wholeheartedly in one time period.
This performance was not flawless. However, I will venture to claim that it was pretty close to it.