A View from the Bridge

AUDITIONS NOTICE

A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller

Please read carefully all the details, in particular rehearsal dates. Please do not audition if you have significant clashes with the rehearsal or performance period. If you are unsure whether unavailability will be an issue please check first by emailing jez.pike@maddermarket.org

Director: Jez Pike     Production Dates:  19th-27th July

Location: Main House

Rehearsal Dates: Rehearsals likely to begin week commencing 3rd June, with a read-through date before this. Exact schedule to arranged following casting. Total of 4 to 5 rehearsals a week.

Audition Dates: 

1st Round:

For all named roles only:

Option A: Tue 22nd Jan (slots between 6.30pm & 9.30pm)

Option B:  Thurs 24th Jan (slots between 6.30pm & 9.30pm)

For supporting ensemble, workshop-style audition only:

Option A: Friday 25th Jan at 7pm (lasts approximately 1hr)

Option B: Saturday 26th Jan at 1pm (lasts approximately 1hr)

Recall dates.

Recalls will only be for named characters. Supporting roles will be cast following the one audition workshop.

If recalled, you would ideally be available for both, but would only be called for one:

Sat 26th Jan (between 2.30pm & 4.30pm) and Sun 27th Jan (between 6pm & 9pm)

If you are absolutely not able to make an audition date but want to be seen please still email jez.pike@maddermarket.org

How to sign-up: 

Please download and complete the standard Auditions Submission Form here.

The completed form should be returned as an attachment to Director of Productions at The Maddermarket Theatre, Jez Pike at jez.pike@maddermarket.org. Your information will then be processed, stored and distributed in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The director of the production – Jez Pike – will then contact you via email to arrange an audition slot.

Scans of the audition extracts can be emailed to you. Alternatively hard copies can be picked up from the theatre office (10.30am-6pm, Mon-Fri). In addition a scan of the script may be requested by email, or alternatively a reading copy is available at the theatre office to read on-site

Please note that all auditionees must complete an ‘Auditions Submission Form’ prior to auditioning, even if have had existing contact with or made informal arrangements with the director of that production.

Format of auditions:

For named roles:

Extracts provided in advance, they don’t need to be learnt. First round auditions will consist of one-to-one readings with the director. Recalls will involve a variety of extracts working with different combinations of actors.

For supporting ensemble:

One workshop-style group audition, which will involve games, a devising exercise and learning some basic group choreography.

About the Play

Premiered in 1956, A View from the Bridge is a muscular, pulsating drama that uses the architecture of Greek tragedy to lead the audience through to it’s inevitable but thrilling conclusion.

The original setting of play is 1950s America, in an Italian-American neighbourhood near the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. It employs a chorus and narrator in the character of Alfieri. The tragic protagonist is Eddie Carbone, an Italian longshoreman working on the New York docks. When his wife’s cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, seek refuge as illegal immigrants from Sicily, Eddie agrees to shelter them.

Trouble begins when his wife’s niece, Catherine – with whom Eddie has an almost unhealthy obsession – is attracted to the glamorous Rodolpho. Eddies jealousy and his fear that his standing within his community is being undermined culminate in him reporting the refugees to the authorities. It is a crime against his family and his community and which will eventually lead to his death at the hands of Marco.

Miller's interest in writing about the world of the New York docks originated with an un-produced screenplay that he developed with Elia Kazan in the early 1950s (titled The Hook) that addressed corruption on the Brooklyn docks. Kazan later directed On the Waterfront, which dealt with the same subject. Miller said that he heard the basic account that developed into the plot of A View from the Bridge from a lawyer who worked with longshoremen, who related it to him as a true story.

About the Production

The production will take the epic quality of Miller’s drama and treat it with the condensed focus of a studio theatre production. A stripped-back version of the text will be used, which eschews the 1950’s period details in favour of a raw and timeless feel. The production will play through without an interval, and the aim will be to create a sinewy, dynamic and politically charged piece of theatre with the feel of a thriller.

Without actively transporting the action to the present day, the approach will deliberately invite references to contemporary issues regarding immigration, integration and the current controversies of border enforcement in the U.S. It will also recognise however that the success of the play lies in its potent mixture of the personal and the political.

To that end the production will fully explore Eddie’s sexual jealousy and rehearsals will aim to get right to the heart of his world; with its mix of secretive passions, toxic masculinity and simmering violence.

The Roles

Accents

All speaking roles will require accents, and ample assistance will be provided for actors from an early stage of rehearsals. Everyone will be asked to at least aim for the appropriate accent in auditions.

Because many of the characters in the play are immigrants, lots of work will be done to try and get the balance right in terms of to what extent hints of their native accent remain. Here is a guide:

Eddie & Beatrice: Brooklyn accent that has occasional Italian inflexions and emphasis, particularly when excited.

Catherine: Brooklyn accent with none or few traces of Italian heritage

Alfieri: A more educated Brooklyn/New York accent, without the Italianate verbal flourish of Eddie and Beatrice, yet with a native Italian pronunciation when it comes to talking about Italy.

Marco & Rodolpho: Both are straight off the boat from Sicily, so strictly speaking should have a native Sicilian accent. There English is very good however so there is little emphasis in the play on them mastering a foreign tongue. Work will be done in rehearsals to get the right balance between authenticity and theatrical necessity. Emphasis, intonation and rhythm should be the starting point rather than trying to ‘put on an Italian accent’.

Please note that the role of Eddie Carbone has now been cast. Submissions are open for all other roles.

EDDIE CARBONE: (Male, playing age Mid 40’s to mid 50’s). The tragic protagonist of the story. He is a powerful, passionate man who inspires the devotion and respect of his family and his community. He is also however a man of great vulnerability, with a desperate desire to be needed and a fear of change. Though his generous heart welcomes his sister’s cousins in initially, all too quickly it is revealed that Eddie regards these outsiders with suspicion. Fuelled by his obsessive need to own Catherine, these suspicions soon harden into a vicious, blind kind of prejudice.

BEATRICE: (Female, playing age 40’s). Wife of Eddie, blood aunt to Catherine and cousin to Marco and Rodolpho. Beatrice is an intelligent, strong woman. Whilst she deeply loves her husband knows his flaws also and is not afraid to challenge him on them. She can be direct and authoritative, but often struggles to balance the urge to act with her loyalty to Eddie and desire for the peace to be maintained. As the feud between Marco, Rodolpho and her husband simmers she is the only one who tries consistently to be on everyone’s side, a role she gets scant reward for. She has her own complexities also, namely an occasional jealousy for Catherine’s intense relationship with her husband. Their relationship has a level of passion that she wishes hers did, and there a hint that she desires far more sexually from Eddie than he has been willing to give for some time.

CATHERINE: (Female, playing age 18 to early 20’s) Catherine is an orphan and Beatrice’s niece. Eddie swore to her mother that he would bring her up. Eddie describes her as looking like ‘the Madonna type’. She regards him as a father figure, but their relationship is very complex and suffers from lack of clear definition. She feels she owes him everything, she tends to his needs and feels his moods like a wife, she desires his company like a lover, and plays the doting girl like a favourite daughter. Traditionally Catherine has been seen as a rather one-note character; pretty, naïve, needy and defined by Eddie’s attention. Yet there is far more complexity about her. Right from the start of the play she is making her own running, wanting a career that will take her out of the neighbourhood and goes against Eddie’s wishes. Then she boldly goes out on a limb by fostering the relationship with Rodolpho and in the end marries him despite knowing it will destroy Eddie. All the while she still wants Eddie’s attention and misses him when she sees less of him. She is a character full of complexities and contradictions; a very modern and sexually aware portrayal of a teenager rapidly transforming into a young woman. She changes so fast that even she can’t always be sure of who she is and what she feels.

MARCO (Male, Playing age late 20’s to mid 30’s) For much of the play Marco comes across as the responsible, diplomatic one of the two Sicilian relatives who are given refuge by Eddie. He has a wife and kids at home who he is devoted to and for whom he has taken the brave and painful decision to seek a better life in America. He wants to settle-in and his humble, hard-working approach instantly wins Eddie’s respect. There is a feeling that he is used to having to keep an eye on his more extravagant and ‘different’ younger brother and he’s a young man with a lot of weight on his shoulders. When Eddie betrays him and Rodolpho to the authorities this grave, dutiful demeanour is transformed into a righteous fury. He brings the ancient revenge law of Sicily to Eddie and nothing will stop in his way. The flipside of Marco’s loyal attitude to life is that when someone demonstrates the complete opposite a violent passion is unleashed that must be satiated. It finally is, with Eddie’s murder.

RODOLPHO (Male. Playing age, Mid 20’s to early 30's) Right from the start of the play Rodolpho is the odd man out. For a start he is a blonde Italian – described as platinum blonde. He is slender and good-looking, one might even call him pretty. There is strong sexual element to the character; though never stated there are regular hints that he might be gay. However these hints are always made through the gaze of others – with often prejudicial motives – and need to be taken within the context of a very hyper-masculine world and culture. What is certain is that many of Rodoplho’s traits mark him out as different to the expectations of male behaviour within the community and of the time. They are traits he appears perfectly happy to be open about. He is a joker, a teller of tall stories, an extravagant spender and an enthusiastic consumer of pleasurable activities. He sings, he dances, he cooks and he sews. There is a strong argument – and one this production is keen to explore – that it is as much these archetypal markers of gender difference that threaten Eddie than it is Rodopho’s attentions towards Catherine. These attentions are again complex and one of the interesting challenges for an actor in this role will be to try and work out what Rodolpho’s true motives are; to what extent does his wish to marry her come from true love and to does it come from the need, as Eddie believes, to secure a Green Card. N.B. It's not necessary for the actor to be a natural blonde, though they would have to be willing to dye the hair for performances.

ALFIERI (Male. Playing age 50’s). A lawyer whose simple career has largely consisted of dealing with the petty problems in the lives of local longshoreman. As his opening speech reveals there is an inner romantic to him, perhaps his inner-Italian longing to come out and feel life at full passion. Though drawn to Eddie because of precisely this kind of full-throttled desire, he is a man who, like the law he practices, has settled for a life of balance and compromise. He was born in Italy, but has been an American citizen for the last 25 years or so. In the style of Greek tragedy, he takes the role of the Chorus, narrating directly to the audience from a retrospective standpoint. Critics have often thought of him as the metaphorical ‘bridge’ of the title, the link between two worlds; Italy and America, the immigrant experience and citizenship and arguably the cerebral and the passionate. His own journey through the play is about his own push and pull between these forces and his ultimate failure to influence events. Miller keeps this journey dramatically active by cleverly having scenes in ‘the present’ as it were, in which Eddie visits his legal offices for advice. It’s advice which he ultimately ignores with fatal consequences. This production will increase the presence throughout the play of Alfieri. He is quite likely to be on the stage throughout, perhaps sometimes as a silent presence within scenes themselves, and the version of the script will see his choral interludes deployed more often through repeats and echoing fragments.

SUPPORTING ENSEMBLE (Male and Female, Playing ages 20’s to 50’s). The production will incorporate a group of varied supporting roles who will take part in a variety of key, conceptually crucial parts of the play. The majority of these roles will be non-speaking, but at least two actors will be defined as Immigration Enforcement Officers and have a handful of lines each.

The production will take quite a visual and conceptual approach to the part of the play when Marco and Rodolpho are forcibly removed. It will see the hitherto timeless 20th century aesthetic of the play suddenly shot through with a recognisably modern feel as the full aggressive and hostile presence of the immigration enforcement is felt. Ideas will develop dependant on number of people auditioning and the make-up of the supporting cast, but it’s likely that this area of the play will see an exciting and intimidating sequence introducing the feel of armed law enforcement into the shocked immigrant neighbourhood, reeling from the betrayal of one of their own and the invasion of state authorities.

The supporting cast will represent additional law enforcement officers, as well as neighbours within the Italian-American community. The production would particularly value actors who are happy to throw themselves physically into such aggressive sequences and who enjoy working on non-text elements that require ensemble work and a willingness to learn and work with physical choreography.

These roles will require substantially less commitment during the first 4 weeks of the rehearsal process. They are ideal for actors who would like to be involved in an ambitious, creatively challenging production but who have limited availability and line-learning time, or for whom there isn’t a named part that suits them.