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Review: Powerful performances span entire cast of Miller's lofty 'Bridge'

May 11, 2006
Omaha World Herald

BY BOB FISCHBACH
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

Rarely does Omaha community theater rise to the heights of Brigit St. Brigit's "A View From the Bridge," one of this season's strongest dramas.

The scenery is on a budget and the lighting is problematic in this round auditorium with a low ceiling. But the acting and Arthur Miller's script are sublime.

Heading a cast that shines from top to bottom are two leads new to area community theater. Mark Scott and Karlene Grinberg give remarkably honest and insightful performances as Eddie Carbone, a New York longshoreman, and Catherine, his wife's niece, who was raised in Eddie's home after her mother died.

In scene after scene, an intensely focused Scott restlessly prowls in search of the respect he feels he's due, while Grinberg radiates the vitality and emotion of a girl becoming a woman .

They are skillfully supported by Amy Kunz as Eddie's wife, Bea, and by director Scott Kurz and Eric Grant-Leanna as, respectively, Marco and Rodolfo, a couple of Bea's relatives who arrive illegally from Italy to work on the docks.

Marco has sick kids back home he's desperate to feed. Rodolfo, a carefree single man, likes to sing, dance and buy splashy clothes.

When Catherine falls for Rodolfo, Eddie's feelings for his ward become clear to everyone but him. In trying to discredit Rodolfo as a dandy, a wastrel and an opportunist seeking citizenship by marrying, he finds no allies. So, a cornered lion, Eddie paws toward rage in a powerhouse second act.

Grinberg seamlessly transitions from innocence to confusion to heartbreak - doubly impressive when you learn she is a Blair High School student. Kunz is equally watchable as Bea. Stuffing her pain while caught between the two she loves most in the world, she tries to nudge both toward safe ground.

Tim Duggan, as an older Italian immigrant lawyer, steps between advising Eddie and addressing the audience directly about the inexorable road to tragedy. He's the bridge, but his clear view isn't enough to halt the sad chain of events.

From its Brooklyn accents to its realistically staged street fight to its natural depiction of everyday life in a 1955 blue-collar neighborhood, "A View From the Bridge" succeeds in transporting its audience. Even bit parts, such as a couple of street characters pitching pennies (Eric Salonis and Chip Frieden), are fully drawn, detailed personalities.

You know the show works when you do a gut check and realize that the characters who commit the most awful acts of the play - murder and betrayal - have made you feel the internal conflict that drives them. Life has smeared black and white into gray.

In the sense of powerlessness that hangs over most of those portrayed here, Miller taps into a sadness known to many in his audience, as much now as 50 years ago when he wrote "A View From the Bridge."

In the resonant performances Kurz has drawn from his players, that sadness becomes our own.


A View From the Bridge
What: Stage drama
Where: Brigit St. Brigit Theatre, Gross Center, College of St. Mary, 7000 Mercy Road
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through May 28
Tickets: $18 adults, $15 senior citizens, $5 students
Information: 399-6287


 
   

 

A BEDROOM OCCUPATION BY MARK SCOTT

Paperback: 86 pages
Publisher: Lumen Books
(June 1, 2007)
ISBN: 0930829646

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TACTILE VALUES BY MARK SCOTT

Paperback: 86 pages
Publisher:
New Issues Pr
Poetry Series
ISBN: 0932826911

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