Saturday, October 12, 2019

A View from the Bridge—Fuse Theatre Ensemble—NW Portland


              A World Apart

     This classic Arthur Miller drama is directed, choreographed and designed by Rusty Newton Tennant and Sara Fay Goldman.  It is playing at 2516 NW 29th Ave. (in the heart of the Industrial area of NW Portland) through October 27th. (Note, this is not an easy place to find, so plan your time accordingly.  Also, wear warm clothes, as the theatre area is not heated, except for a few portable heaters.)  For more information, go to their site at www.boxofficetickets.com or contact Rusty at rusty.fuse@gmail.com or call 214-504-6350.

    Although this was written many years ago, it has a scary timeliness for today’s world.  It touches on issues of immigration, relationships, family dynamics, cultural differences, human values, and the nature of love.  It skirts issues also found in Come Back, Little Sheba; West Side Story; On the Waterfront and even ancient Greek tragedies.  It is the tale of two worlds colliding and the cost of when one entity will not change or evolve.

    Many cultures, when they immigrate to this country, take with them the burden/responsibility of an extended family.  And so it is with Eddie (Ernie Lijoi), from Italy but now an American Longshoreman, working on the docks & warehouses in NYC.  He lives in the slums in Brooklyn, with a teenage girl, his “daughter,” Catherine (Jacquelle Davis), who he has an unnatural jealousy of, and her “Aunt,” Beatrice (Adriana Gantzer), who has an interest in him, as the lines of true relations are blurred.

    Eddie’s good friend is Alfieri (Michael J. Teuffel ), a lawyer, who advises Eddie on legal rights.  But Eddie has been known to harbor illegals from the “old country” in his flat, as he is doing now with Marco (Eric Viale), who is married with family back home, and his brother, Rodolpho (Justin Charles), a single man looking to see what this new world has to offer.  A Chorus (akin to old Greek plays), Alexander Buckner and John Mulholland, play various other roles, as needed.

    The shifting of identities or roles from a male-dominated world to one in which women have more freedom and choices, is part of the dilemma Eddie faces.  His confusion, anger, frustration and unbending macho persona may be his downfall.  You’ll just have to see it to witness how these many layers unfold.  Through it all, though, one may glean for themselves the message as to the need for tolerance and kindness in a a global society, seemingly hell-bent on destroying itself.  But Hope, as in this story, “springs eternal,” and it’s embedded with our Youth, which seems to be up the task of evolving us toward a better Tomorrow.

    Tennant and Goldman have done an amazing job of creating a moving and memorable play in simple surroundings, so that the emphasis is on the story and characters.  And they have chosen their cast very well, as they are all suited perfectly for their roles, especially, Lijoi, as his character lumbers uncertainly in a strange, new world.

    I recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

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