SAU Buzz

A View From the Bridge cast wows audience

by Erika Seabloom
Posted on Mar 02, 2018

Several students excitedly anticipated Saint Ambrose’s take on A View From the Bridge (directed by Sam Jones) that it was great, but this did not at all prepare me for the absolutely outstanding performance I was about to see. The talent of this tragedy’s small cast was so impressive and chilling that the audience was unable to tear their eyes away from the studio theatre stage.

The set (designed by Kris Eitrheim), costumes (designed  by Dianne Dye) and props (designed by Megan Peterson) were minimalistic, but didn’t detract anything from the show. If anything, it allowed the audience to better focus on the script and what each actor brought to their role. I was extremely impressed by this stunning production of a heart-wrenching Arthur Miller play.

From the very beginning of the performance, the cast’s talent was clear. Alfieri (T.J. Green) delivered a strong opening speech as Mike (Christian Colmenares) and Louis (Anthony Duckett) washed their hands after a long day working at the docks. Within two minutes of the play, I was drawn in. When Eddie (Bryan Woods) walked on stage it was clear by his costume that he, too, worked as a longshoreman on the docks.

Our introduction to Beatrice (Sarah Goodall) and Catherine (Megan Clarke) is a memorable one. It becomes obvious very quickly that Beatrice and her husband, Eddie, don’t have the best of relationships and that the light and bubbly Catherine sees Eddie much more like a father than an uncle.

After the audience becomes acquainted with the the members of this makeshift family of aunt, uncle and niece, a flurry of action occurs. Beatrice’s cousins Rudolfo (Tyler Hughes) and Marco (Brian Leibforth) come in late at night (illegally) from Italy and Catherine becomes infatuated with Rudolfo almost immediately. The two brothers come to live in Eddie’s home and they soon start work. Rudolfo begins to buy new things and keep Catherine out all night. It doesn’t take long for this to start to anger Eddie.

Sound effects, music, and different forms of lighting were used throughout the play, but they didn’t have much of an effect until the conflict between Eddie and Rudolfo (or, perhaps, the conflict between Eddie and himself) comes to a head. As the tension builds more and more, the play comes to a scene where Eddie teaches Rudolfo to box. It started out innocent enough until Eddie actually punches Rudolfo.

During this scene, ominous music came in to change the mood as Marco brought in a chair (meant, it appeared, to be quite heavy) and challenged Eddie to lift it up by one leg. Eddie tried and tried but failed. Then Marco lifted the chair almost effortlessly and held it threateningly over Eddie’s head as more music fueled the tension and a deep red light flooded the stage. As the play went on, more and more tension grew between the characters.

It then becomes apparent that the way that Eddie sees Catherine is not the fatherly way that Catherine might expect him to. Eventually Eddie unravels, led to his downfall by his own tragic flaws and, as in almost every tragic play, nobody is left happy.

I was very impressed by the actors’ abilities to authentically replicate the unhappiness in heart wrenching scenes. Never before have I seen an actor actually cry while playing a role, but Friday night I did. I was so moved by Megan Clarke’s performance as Catherine that I had to question whether she was acting or had become her character. The chemistry between Rudolfo and Catherine was remarkable as well. It was truly believable that they were indeed a couple and very much in love with one another. The intensity of Eddie’s character is worth mentioning as well along with the coldness of Marco’s character near the end of the play.  

While there were a few touches to this particular interpretation of A View From the Bridge that I didn’t like, overall I enjoyed it. The passion that the actors gave their characters and the choices in lighting and costumes more than makes up for my small annoyances at a lack of mentioned props, clear settings and set entrance and exit points. The set was simple, there were no costume changes and there were few props, but the performance was not at all lacking. Instead, it was one of the most touching, heart-wrenching and memorable shows I have ever seen.