Troubled waters

2nd October 1998 at 01:00
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE. Leicester Haymarket.

Director Linda Marlowe has set this version of Arthur Miller's play in its original time and place: a mid-Fifties apartment, sparse but clean, overlooking Brooklyn Bridge, with the dark, jagged chain of the docks in the background.

"Some elements work best in this period," she explains, "particularly the influx of illegal immigrants from post-war Italy and the unforgiveable nature of Eddie's crime in 'shopping' members of his community to the authorities. "

Then there's sex, which can be alluded to only obliquely, even between husband and wife. So would things have been different in a less buttoned-up era?

Marlowe says no. "The problem is in the nature of the man. He's a good man who is suddenly consumed by a passion to which he can't admit and which he can't control."

She is adamant that the audience must have no easy explanations for Eddie's behaviour. "Catherine is truly innocent," she says. She's shocked when Beatrice upbraids her for walking about the apartment in her slip, and not until she witnesses Eddie's ugly behaviour towards Rodolpho does she grasp there is something wrong. And Beatrice is mature but still sexy and attractive. They've had a good marriage - there's no 'explanation' here."

Could or should Beatrice have done more to avert disaster? "She is an Italian wife of 40 years ago, it wouldn't be her place to challenge her husband. "

But Beatrice clearly shoulders some of the blame. "Whatever happened, we all done it." she says to Catherine. "That is one of the issues the play makes us think about," adds Marlowe. Just how much responsibility should we take for someone else's life?

Ann FitzGerald 'A View From The Bridge' runs at Leicester Haymarket from October 8-24. Matinees:October 14,17, 24. Schools Playday 10.30am October 14. Tel: 0116 253 9797.

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