Stories about illegal immigrants are making headlines, but the issue is far from new. The Edge Theatre’s latest production is a play that was …
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Stories about illegal immigrants are making headlines, but the issue is far from new.
The Edge Theatre’s latest production is a play that was written more than 55 years ago, telling the story of an immigrant family new to America, and the internal trials and struggles they must endure to make a home in their new country.
“A View from the Bridge,” written by Arthur Miller in 1955, premiered at the Lakewood theater, 9797 W. Colfax Ave., on May 4 and will run through June 3.
“Part of the attraction to the play is that while it is Arthur Miller, it’s not one of the common plays like ‘Death of a Salesman’ or ‘The Crucible,’” said Rick Yaconis, executive director of the theater. “The play has only been done once in Denver, and that was back in the ‘80s.”
“View” follows Eddie Carbone, the head of an Italian-American family in New York City in the 1950s. He lives with his wife, Beatrice, and orphaned niece, Catherine. The life they’ve built in America seems perfect until two Italian cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, join the family by illegally immigrating.
Catherine and Rodolpho fall for each other, but the relationship is not what Eddie has in mind for his niece, and the situation spirals into one of prejudice, violence and grief.
“We’ve had a great response to it so far, and we’ve had people walking out of the show doing exactly what we want — experiencing a whole range of emotions,” Yaconis, who also plays Eddie, said.
The goal of The Edge has always been to find ways to get audiences to invest in what is happening on the stage, Yaconis said, and for this production two new methods have been used.
The first is that the stage has been rearranged so that it is in the round, with the audience sitting on all sides. Yaconis said this setup lets the actors use the audience as the “townspeople,” and makes the audience feel like they are taking part in the production. The other way this show is different from any others is that it hits close to home for Yaconis, and he decided to embrace that aspect.
“It’s personal for me because I come from an Italian background. A lot of my ancestors immigrated here, and growing up I heard stories about all they had to go through to get here,” he said.
Since “A View from The Bridge” is the story of immigrants, the theater is celebrating the rich history and variety of people who have traveled to make it to America. Those who attend the show and wish to, will have a chance to tell the story of a particular family member before the play starts.
“If people want to bring pictures of relatives, we’ll put them on the wall,” he said. “It’s not just Italian immigrants, but anyone who came to this country looking for better opportunities.”
For more information on the play, go to www.theedgetheater.com.
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