SPRING GREEN, Wis. - Up until a couple days ago I thought “Cyrano de Bergerac” was American Players Theatre's best offering of the summer.
It's a great play and James Ridge pretty much defines the role of the large-nosed Cyrano in my book.
But, then, I saw the APT production of Arthur Miller's “A View From the Bridge.”
The story, set in the 1950s, features Eddie Carbone, an Italian longshoreman who scrapes together a living as he supports his wife, Beatrice, and niece, Catherine. He sees Catherine as his daughter and is delighted/obsessed with her.
Enter Beatrice's cousins, Marco and Rudolpho, who were smuggled into America on a ship and who quickly take up undocumented work on the docks. Rudolpho and Catherine hit it off and tragedy ensues.
That's the plot. What makes the performance exceptional is the intensity of the actors. They draw you into the story, grab you by the neck and insist you become members of the family, bound up in its struggles and fears, hoping against hope they will survive.
James DeVita is Eddie. Melisa Pereya is Catherine. Colleen Madden is Beatrice. So, you've got a top-notch cast and it performs as a team. There really isn't a “star” in this group because the performance so much depends on the ability of each member to draw audience emotion to that tiny Touchstone Theatre stage.
And the size of the theater is important because it allows the actors to employ subtle expressions and actions that would disappear in the main 1,100 seat APT theater.
The action is narrated by Brian Mani, who plays the role of Alfieri, a lawyer who occasionally counsels Eddie to calm down and accept the fact that he can't stop the world from changing and who seems resigned to the fact that words of wisdom won't interrupt the passions of a man who needs to hang onto the world that, perhaps, was but is no more.
“A View From the Bridge” will be staged through Oct. 24. You really should see it.
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