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
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
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
Tickets: $18 adults, $15 senior citizens, $5 students