Directors Karl Berner and Justin Treasure face a mammoth task in creating the set for CST's upcoming production of A View From the Bridge. The play is set in the 1950s in Red Hook, "the slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge ... The gullet of New York." While the Carbones' living and dining room is the main focus of the action, the street/neighborhood outside must also be represented. To give you a glimpse into their dilemma, here's how the setting is described at the top of Act One:
The street and house front of a tenemant building. The front is skeletal entirely. The main acting area is the living room-dining room of Eddie's apartment. It is a worker's flat, clean, sparse, homely. There is a rocker down front; a round dining table at centre, with chairs; and a portable phonograph.
At back are a bedroom door and an opening to the kitchen.
At the right, forestage, a desk.
There is also a telephone booth. This is not used until the last scenes, so it may be covered or left in view.
A stairway leads up to the apartment, and then farther up to the next storey.
Ramps, representing the street, run upstage and off to the right and left.
Wow. That is incredibly ambitious for CST's 34 x 19 foot black-box mainstage. I've been peaking in on the the build and it's been challenging. I have great respect for the passion and attention to detail the directors are bringing to the process and I think their careful decision-making and a lot of volunteer muscle are going to result in a gorgeous set that brings our audiences into the world of the play.
Just for fun, take a look at some of the widely varied set designs of other theatre's that have produced A View From the Bridge.
posted by Artistic Chair Traci Brant