Jonathan Slinger as Eddie Carbone
A View from the Bridge, Bolton Octagon Theatre
Photo by The Other Richard
069 – A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge tells the story of Eddie Carbone, who lives in the immigrant neighbourhood of Red Hook under the Brooklyn Bridge, and works as a longshoreman on the nearby docks. He lives with his wife, Beatrice, and his 17-year-old niece, Catherine, whom Eddie and Beatrice have cared for since she was a child. But Catherine is no longer a child, and her natural desire to pursue her own life as an independent woman will tragically rupture the lives of this family and the close-knit community of Red Hook.
A View from the Bridge, is a powerful drama of parental responsibility, repressed sexual passion, betrayal and vengeance set in post-war America. The play followed the huge successes of Miller’s first three major plays, All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible, all of which we’ve happily also been able to cover on the podcast. A View from the Bridge was first staged on Broadway in a one-act version in September 1955, but the production was not an unqualified success, and Miller subsequently revised and extended the play to its current two acts. Miller was much happier with this extended version, and it received a more positive response when it premiered a year later in October 1956 at the Comedy theatre in London’s West End under the direction of Peter Brook.
The play has of course been revived many times since, with star actors drawn to the towering central role of Eddie Carbone. As we record this episode, there is a new production on tour in the UK, starring Jonathan Slinger as Eddie, and directed by Holly Race Roughan. I’m delighted to be able to have the chance to talk with Holly about a play that remains emotional shattering and socially resonant.
Holly Race Roughan
Holly Race Roughan is a director of new work at Headlong Theatre Company, where she was Associate Artistic Director between 2019 and 2021. She was an Executive Producer on the TV drama anthology UNPRECEDENTED, produced by Headlong, BBC Four, and Century Films, directing HOUSE PARTY by April De Angelis and PENNY by Charlene James for the series. Previously for Headlong she directed the Ibsen adaptation HEDDA TESMAN by Cordelia Lynn, as well as the UK tour of PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS by Duncan MacMillan.
Holly has directed shows at the Lyric Hammersmith, the Royal Court, the Southbank Centre, Southwark Playhouse, Theatre 503, the VAULT Festival, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, where she co-directed a new version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in 2021.
Holly recommended The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt.
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Published 4th December
Lynn Nottage’s play Clyde’s is set in a truck-stop diner on the outskirts of Reading, Pennsylvania. This is no ordinary diner though, because the short-order cooks that make the sandwiches that the diner is famous for are all ex-cons. But the eponymous proprietor, Clyde, has not offered these characters a second chance out of the softness of her heart.
Lynn Nottage has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama twice, and as we record this episode the European preview of Clyde’s is on stage at the Donmar Warehouse in London. I am delighted to be joined by the show’s director Lynette Linton, who also directed Nottage’s last play Sweat at the same theatre in 2018.
The poet Percy Shelley called King Lear “the most perfect specimen of the dramatic art existing in the world”. It is a prodigious play in every sense. There are ten major roles, it has multiple significant plot lines, an elemental stormy setting, intense domestic conflict, and acts of war and violence which roll on with a propulsive tragic energy and conjure a challenging philosophical vision.
As we record this episode a new production directed by and starring Sir Kenneth Branagh arrives in London’s West End.
I am very pleased to be joined in this episode by Paul Prescott, who is an academic, writer and theatre practitioner specialising in Shakespearean drama.
Pygmalion is arguably George Bernard Shaw’s most famous play, partly because it spawned the even-more famous musical My Fair Lady. The enduring popularity of the play can be attributed to the romantic arc of its central story, and to the fact that it offers two iconic parts in the characters of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins.
As a new production of Pygmalion opens at The Old Vic in London, Ivan Wise returns to the podcast to help us assess whether Shaw’s charming social parable remains as entertaining or as relevant as when it was written more than a century ago.