What drew you to A View from the Bridge?
After having directed two comedies as my first projects, I was decidedly on the lookout for a drama that gripped me. Additionally, Justin and I usually speak about shows we like, I had to share this work with him after reading it. We had discussed other projects, but this piece we agreed on proceeding with almost immediately.
Arthur Miller is obviously one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th Century, what makes his storytelling so powerful?
Arthur Miller, like many playwrights who find major success, has the gifted ability to literally put conversationalism on paper. Outside of A View From The Bridge, the other glaring example of his would be Death of A Salesman. It's a challenge for actors to really get a sense of the conversation, dynamic and tone of a scene, but when it's performed accurately, the enitre life of the story is already written. The challenge is right there in black and white. That is part of his brilliance as a playwright.
What makes this particular story an American classic?
It's a truly American story based on an actual life occurrence. It has everything the pursuit of the "American Dream" offers: success and reward for honest work and a chance for happiess, but with cautious sirens about the perils of taking too much, of holding on to what may not rightfully be yours.
What does A View from the Bridge have to say about issues of immigration that are still relevant today?
Regardless of the current jobs situation and economic climate America currently faces, it still does represent a chance for a better life to may who come here. Adapting to one's new environment is also a timeless experience for anyone.
What does the play have to say about families and relationships?
Through the contrast of Eddie, the protagonist, and the immigrant, Marco, we see a idealistic clash as to what makes family important, and how the definition of honor and respect differ between these two men. While one tends to focus on power and possession, the other views family as a village of virtuous individuals all worthy of respect, no matter what.
The cast features quite a few experienced CST actors. What have they brought to this production?
We do have some seasoned veterans, and they have really helped to lead by example for those who are younger in their craft as actors. It has been a learning experience for everyone, and it's a joy to watch the actors not only make discoveries together, but to mutually enjoy them and build on them.
Tell me a little bit about the crew and technical aspects of the show.
We have an unbelievable Jill-of-all-trades in Vicki Zimmerman. I can say, certainly, we would not be as far along without her. She has an amazing work ethic and attention to detail in every aspect of live theatre. Our set was designed by Jeff DeBoer, who Justin and I have both worked with in the past and who has a keen sense of how to use a given space based upon a director's needs. Auriel Felsecker is our youngest lighting designer. After apprenticing under Marcia Burbage, she is now creating her own unique designs. Marsha Gerhardt--who is back with us after a long hiatus--has had some great vision as far as costumes; a period piece requires quite a bit of detail, as does taking a character's class standing into consideration. Costumes tell a story in and of themselves.
What do you hope audiences take away from the show?
I'm hoping--especially if they've never seen A View From The Bridge--that we've done justice to Arthur Miller's work, and that they'll enjoy this grim, hard-hitting piece of 1950s, east-coast Americana.
What makes Chicago Street Theatre such a unique venue for theater in Northwest Indiana?
What makes Chicago Street theatre unique is their unwavering tendency toward taking risks for the chance of creating new artistic statements. Providing directors, actors and designers alike with chances to explore and create live art from abstract, off the beaten path or even controversial works is an avenue not often found in small-town community theatre settings.