NEWS FROM CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, BAKERSFIELD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCT. 28, 2002
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anita DuPratt really hadn't anticipated producing Arthur Miller's powerful drama "A View from the Bridge" when she selected it for one of her classes to study last year. The California State University, Bakersfield theater professor and chair of the Performing Arts Department thought the play would be a good example of American theater.
To her surprise, the class embraced the play, so much so that DuPratt began toying with the idea of producing it. Now she's excited about the play's opening on Nov. 14.
"Arthur Miller is a playwright whose work I respect," she said. "He's a story teller and writes plays that are very engaging. They're about people who are at crossroads in their lives, so his plays are very powerful.
"I chose this play last year for one of my classes, and because of the enthusiasm of the students, I thought this is a play we should do."
The story centers on a Brooklyn longshoreman, Eddie Carbone, and his suppressed incestuous feelings for his wife's orphaned niece, Catherine, who lives with them. The drama crescendos as his wife Beatrice's cousins, Rodolpho and Marco, who have slipped into the country from Sicily illegally, come to stay with them. As Rodolpho and Catherine grow increasingly close, Eddie, who doesn't understand his own feelings, becomes increasingly confrontational, eventually betraying Rodolpho and Marco to the immigration service. This breaks all of the codes of their community. Since Marco has a family back in Sicily that he is supporting, being sent back will "kill" his children. Marco confronts Eddie - spits in his face - in front of the neighborhood, which causes Eddie to lose face in front of everyone. When Marco is released from jail, so he can work until he is deported, he goes to Eddie with the idea that he will avenge the wrong done to his family, but Eddie pulls a knife on Marco. Marco turns the knife on Eddie and Eddie dies.
The play was first staged on Broadway in 1955 as a one-act play, then in London in 1956 as a full-length play. It is considered a modern Greek tragedy. In fact Miller wrote an essay postulating the possibilities of casting a modern character in the mode of classic Greek tragedy. Critics agree that "A View from the Bridge" most closely resembles classic Greek tragedy.
"Of his works, this one is not as frequently staged, although it has enjoyed a revival the last few years," DuPratt said. "His stories seem to be universal. This is like a Greek tragedy. It's dealing with obsessive behavior of the main character. Like a Greek tragedy we can see the horror unravel - but at the same time it's very human."
DuPratt said the play is a gripping drama. "I like good stories, wondering what's going to happen next, and this play has that quality," she said. "It has engaging characters - humans dealing with human problems. The appeal is the power of the story, the magnitude of the crisis. We leave with the realization that we're all fragile, and we're all flawed."
The quality of the actors excites DuPratt. "I'm blessed with a wonderful cast," she said. "Matt Lindsay plays Eddie Carbone. He's a new theater major, very talented. He's been seen in many productions in town. Leah Espericueta, who plays Catherine, is a transfer from Northern Arizona University, but she's originally from Shafter. Jason Blackmon plays the narrator-attorney Alfieri. He's been in lots of shows at CSUB. Justin Gordon plays Rodolpho. He's just returned from the Pacific Repertory Theater in Carmel to complete his degree."
The rest of the cast is Adina Rubin as Beatrice, Bobby Bliatout as Marco, Francisco I. Aragon as Tony, Paul Sosa as Mike, Richard Briggs as Louis, Judd Johnson as the first officer, Jason Dollar as the second officer, Dan Weinheimer as an illegal immigrant, Dorian Towns as Mr. Lipari, and Rovi Sampagna as Mrs. Lipari.
"We're growing, we have some wonderful young actors," DuPratt continued. "For some reason it seems more students are interested in theater this fall. We're doing really well with our student casts. When I had auditions for 'View' I had a very difficult time casting the roles because we had so many good people."
"A View from the Bridge" opens in the Dore Theater on the CSUB campus on Thursday, Nov. 14, for a four-performance run. The curtain will rise at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-16, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. Cost is $10 general admission, $8 for faculty, staff and senior citizens, and $5 for students with identification.
For tickets or more information, please call the CSUB Performing Arts Department office at (661) 664-3093.