Feature

Theater: A View From the Bridge

Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson make this revival of Arthur Miller&rsquo;s 1955 drama &ldquo;one of the finest evenings of Miller in memory,&rdquo; said Peter Marks in <em>The Washington Post.</em>

Cort Theatre
New York
(212) 239-6200

****

The marquee duo of Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson makes this revival of Arthur Miller’s 1955 drama “one of the finest evenings of Miller in memory,” said Peter Marks in The Washington Post. Whether he’s doing Shakespeare, Mamet, or Miller, Schreiber is among the finest stage actors of his generation. Here his performance as Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone is “nothing short of remarkable.” Eddie finds himself coming unhinged when his feelings for Catherine, the 17-year-old niece he’s helped raise from a child, suddenly turn sexual. As Catherine, Johansson is a big surprise in her Broadway debut, proving “to be capable of far more than merely contributing to eyebrow-raising star casting.”

Broadway’s stages have been “littered with dim performances” by screen actresses recently, said Ben Brantley in The New York Times. Last season, for instance, a revival of Miller’s All My Sons starred an underwhelming Katie Holmes. Johansson simply acts, and acts well, as if she were under no pressure at all to impress skeptics. She’s a pitch-perfect Catherine, “a girl on the cusp of womanhood,” and at times disappears into her character so completely that you forget she’s a celebrity. It’s when Catherine takes a romantic interest in Rodolpho, an immigrant fresh from Italy, that she prompts her uncle to come at her strangely. The audience follows Johansson with rapt apprehension as Catherine slowly becomes “cognizant of that which her Aunt Beatrice already knows and Eddie refuses to admit.”

Like Miller’s other plays, A View From the Bridge often threatens to collapse under the weight of the playwright’s frequent and bombastic moralizing, said Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal. Miller was consciously striving to create a sort of working-class Greek tragedy, so the moralizing—and the melodrama—is at full throttle. Fortunately, director Gregory Mosher has adopted an understated approach, in which “nothing is exaggerated, italicized, or blown out of proportion.” This is that rare production of A View From the Bridge in which everything works; it’s “so hard-hitting that you’ll want to see it twice—assuming that you can get tickets.”

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