This play should have been called Incest Vibes. Lets just say that the tension between these two is very Greek.
This play should have been called Incest Vibes. Let's just say that the tension between these two (Amy Danneker, Mark Zeisler) is very Greek. Alabastro Photography

Even though A View from the Bridge is the most boring title for anything, you should throw on some business casual and go see the play before it closes this weekend.

When you walk into the Seattle Rep Theatre, the curtain's already open on 1950s New York. Off-duty longshoreman, beer bottles in the streets, water towers, brick buildings. Windows strung up above a modestly decorated apartment create the feeling that the entire city could collapse on the scene at any moment.

The set, by Scott Bradley, projects two things: vertiginousness and ominousness, which neatly reflects one of script's themes. It's one of Arthur Miller's favorites: the disasters that attend any attempt at upward mobility.

You can picture undocumented Italian workers offstage, unloading boats shoulder-to-shoulder with the lower-middle-class Americans of Red Hook, Brooklyn, many of whom are second generation Italian-Americans themselves. There's a kind of stowaway system in place in this part of town. Immigrants arrive from Italy, and distant relatives/friends of friends put them up. People walk around with their head on a swivel, living their lives in constant fear of being found out by the immigration police. If found, immigrants will be deported; those who harbor them might face jail time.

Eddie Carbone (Mark Zeisler) and his wife Bea (Kirsten Potter) take in two immigrants: Rodolpho, a singing and dancing dandy played by Frank Boyd; and Marco, a dark, beefy quiet-type who just wants to raise money to feed his wife and children who only have enough to "eat the sunshine" back in Italy. Catherine (Amy Danneker), is the bubbly and upwardly mobile daughter-figure (technically Eddie's niece) who can't help but fall in love with <3 Rodolpho <3, who everyone thinks is gay.

Rodolpho is the one with with the light hair. Catherine is the one smiling at him, about to eat him with her eyes. (L-R) Kirsten Potter, Amy Danneker, Brandon ONeill, Frank Boyd, Mark Zeisler_
Rodolpho is the guy with with the light hair. Catherine is the woman in the skirt who is smiling at him, about to eat him with her eyes. From left to right, the actors are Kirsten Potter, Amy Danneker, Brandon O'Neill, Frank Boyd, and Mark Zeisler. Alabastro Photography

The play's so Greek everybody might as well have been wearing togas. Everything about the structure of the play is symmetrical. Every character has a double. Almost every action has a double—there's one fuck, one stab. The hero has a tragic flaw. Guess what it is—hubris. Eddie's undone by the very thing that makes him admirable, his sense of self-respect, his pride in having raised Catherine to be a beautiful and talented young woman.

Watching that undoing get done is entertaining. Despite what this review might suggest, there were several moments in the play where I dropped my analytical pose, channeled my inner gossip, and allowed myself to think: "Oh no he is not—no...no! That rat fink!" or "She just needs to get the fuck outta that house is what she needs to do."

The action is hot, tense, and not least of all because of the sexual tension between Eddie and Catherine, both of whom give strong performances (though Catherine couldn't seem to hold onto her accent—sometimes she sounded British?). Leonard Kelly-Young played Alfieri, Eddie's confidant and lawyer, who served as a sort of Greek chorus or Prince Escalus, the guy who turns to the audience, portends doom, and then shakes his head. Kelly-Young was so convincing as a compassionate yet lawful-neutral soothsayer that his predictions and proclamations rang out like advice from ten thousand grandpas. I loved him the most.

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Alfieris predictions and proclamations rang out like advice from ten thousand grandpas. Hes played by Leonard Kelly-Young, on the left.
Alfieri's predictions and proclamations rang out like advice from ten thousand grandpas. He's played by Leonard Kelly-Young, on the left. Alabastro Photography

The relationship between Eddie and Rodolopho reveals several hypocrisies about the relationship between the immigrant and the American citizen. You can come here but you can't be a person here, the American says. You can't enjoy the superfluous shit we Americans value as signs of upward mobility. When we buy jackets and records it's a sign of success; when immigrants do it they're being irresponsible charlatans.

One can't help but think of Trump's call to kick 11 million people out of the country and then only invite them back on our terms, or Chris Christie's big government idea to slap barcodes on immigrants who come to the US on work visas. This play will make you feel the terror of those ideologies in your bones.