Black Box hosts ‘Bridge’ to the past

Albanesius as Rodolpho (left), Damien Gaeta as Marco (right) and Quartarone as Beatrice performed Arthurs Miller’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ on Sept.  17-19 and 25-27. (Tim Lee / Photo Editor)
Albanesius as Rodolpho (left), Damien Gaeta as Marco (right) and Quartarone as Beatrice performed Arthurs Miller’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ on Sept. 17-19 and 25-27. (Tim Lee / Photo Editor)

In the Don Evans Black Box Theater, a small audience of a few students and others from the surrounding community witnessed the tragic downfall of an average man and the challenges faced by illegal immigrants of the 1950s. Sept. 18 marked one of seven performances by Mercer County’s classical theater group, Shakespeare ’70, of Arthur Miller’s play “A View from the Bridge,” first staged in 1955.

The acting itself was decent overall, despite a few occasional line stutters. Most of the actors, particularly Janet Quartarone as Beatrice and Patrick Albanesius as Rodolpho, appeared fully committed to their characters and were very convincing. Their struggles and emotions could be felt, which truly helped to captivate the audience. Quatarone played her character almost perfectly.

The play focuses on Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman who lives with his wife Beatrice and their niece in a poor Italian-American neighborhood situated under the Brooklyn Bridge. Eddie gradually loses his easy-going demeanor when his niece falls for one of two illegal immigrants from Italy who have come to live with them.

One of the few troubles with the performance was the script’s content. As Eddie intensifies his dislike for the young immigrant who is the sweetheart of his niece, he repeatedly insinuates that the man is gay and it becomes apparent that Eddie’s love for his niece runs deeper than paternal.

These plot twists are a little too obvious from early on. Audiences of today are overwhelmingly exposed to scandal, therefore the shock that Miller originally intended was somewhat diminished. This resulted in the plot moving along slowly at times, specifically in the middle of Act One.

Taken as a whole, this particular production was well done, and the set, although it never changed, served perfectly for both aesthetic and functional purposes. The actors appeared comfortable in their surroundings and each aided the other to spring to life.

The cast and crew of the group includes College alumni Albanesius and Michael Krahel, and theater coordinator for the Kendall Hall Performing Arts Center Dale Simon.