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View From a Bridge - Response.

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Introduction

Coursework - View From a Bridge Response A View From The Bridge was written by Play Wright Arthur Miller. It is set in the 1950's in Brooklyn, New York and based around a working class Italian American community, and details the happenings when a longshoreman's family harbours two Sicilian cousins who have illegally entered the United States. After WW2 many European countries were left completely devastated, Italy was one of these countries. After the war there was a lack of jobs, food and money so many Italians emigrated to prosperous countries like America. However asylum was hard to get so many illegally emigrated. Once in America most immigrants lived in the slums, working poorly paid and inconsistent jobs. Both of Arthur Miller's parents emigrated to the United States and after the Wall Street Crash he spent the rest of his youth living in poverty and working as a warehouseman. This I believe influenced the writing of A View From The Bridge. The central characters in the play are Eddie Carbone a longshoreman, his wife Beatrice, their niece Catherine and Beatrice's two Sicilian cousins Marco and Rodolpho. In the play crisis develops when Catherine and illegal immigrant Rodolpho fall in love and Eddie finds himself unable to cope with an inner-violent reaction he doesn't understand. Eddie believes he is a good man, a father, a husband and a provider. However he is unable to control his jealousy resulting in him breaking the unspoken 'code of honour' and reporting them to the immigration bureau and then facing the wrath of Marco. This was the first time I had encountered A View From The Bridge and in order to understand it's context and the background of the characters more I research on the internet Italian immigration to America and the culture of Italian Americans. I found that the role of husband and wife were very different to the role today. ...read more.

Middle

We then read it through again trying to add real emotions to our characters lines. In our next rehearsal we began to act out the scene following only basic stage directions and trying to keep in the role of our character. In the next rehearsal time we decided to a floor plan and characters proxemics. Here is our first floor plan: - For the proxemics we decided that Eddie would be sitting in his rocker, stage front as this is a mark of his status in the house and in this scene. We also decided that everyone else should be positioned behind him, as the fact he would have his back slightly towards them would represent his current mood. We also wanted Beatrice hear him, to show the closeness Beatrice wanted in their relationship and Catherine and Rodolfo when quite far away from Eddie's rocker, to increase tension but in Eddie's eye line to show Catherine's defiance. We then position Marco round the dinner table in the middle of the stage between Eddie and Beatrice and Catherine and Rodolfo, to represent the fact he is neutral at the beginning to this scene and how this changes when he move towards Eddie and the climax of the scene. For the final performance the floor plan and characters proxemics changed slightly. This was because teachers had already set up a basic floor plan on the day and when reading the scene before we found that the characters had just had dinner. We there for used the following floor plan: - We kept Eddie in his rocker but decided to position Beatrice, Marco and Rodolfo round the dinner table, with Beatrice nearest to Eddie, Marco in the middle and Rodolfo nearest to Catherine. My proxemics were kept the same and so was the place where Catherine and Rodolfo danced as we thought this was effective. During the rehearsal process we I also used a number of different techniques and skill so develop both my character and the scene which my group were acting out. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was because the character playing Marco did not move to face Eddie and raised the chair to only waste height; loosing any tension we had created in the scene. Overall I think our group performance could have been improved dramatically if we had rehearsed more as this would have meant we would have been more in character, producing real emotions and following correct stage directions with better proxemics. I also felt if other members had put more effort into both rehearsals and our final piece our performance would have been of much higher standard. When watching the other performances, I saw a number of different portrayals of Catherine and the other main characters. All of these portrayals were very good but also very different each other. One person's interpretation of Catherine that I thought was very effective was Tayo's in the scene in which Beatrice confronts and warns Catherine about how she behaves with Eddie. As Tayo had learnt her lines I felt she was able to produce real emotions and that she managed to capture Catherine's naivety and innocence but at the same time show her scheming and manipulative ways. Another interpretation of Catherine I enjoyed was James's in the opening scene. As a boy playing a girl his portrayal of Catherine was very stereotypical, high pitch shrill voice, eloquent small movements and very flirty. However this made it very amusing and enjoyable to watch. On whole I thought that A View From The Bridge was very accessible to a 21st South East London pupil. I think this because a number of the issues raised still affect us now in London. For example there is still a problem with illegal immigration and violence. Also family, friendships and culture, which were all important to characters in the play, are still important to pupils now. I also felt that the felt that the storyline was interested and enjoyable and the text was not too confusing but still challenged you. Overall I really enjoyed studied this text and the activities we carried out involving the text. ...read more.

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