Arthur Miller is a writer who was born in New York in 1915. He has written a series of successful plays including the one I am presently studying, ‘A View from A bridge’. A View from a bridge was first published in 1961 and again in 2000. It is a story of illegal immigrants who emigrate from Italy to America in search of a better and more successful life. There was extreme poverty in Italy back when the play was set and a lot of emigration took place, due to the lack of jobs, severe starvation and general poverty. This all made it a real struggle to survive.
The harsh lifestyle is talked about by Marco and Rodolpho throughout the play and they give us a brief overview of what life was like back in Italy – his children are sick as a result of poor living conditions and he can barely afford to feed them. The work situation as well wasn’t very promising as there was very little work and they were grateful to get their hands on any job possible, to raise money for the family. So with the pitiful living conditions in Italy at the time, it wasn’t a wonder why a lot of people wanted to emigrate over-seas to the more wealthier, economic countries, in search of a better life.
This was all part of the so-called, ‘American dream’. Basically people went to America because there were more better paid jobs, better quality farming land, better living conditions and an overall better life. Now I have given you a brief background to what the books about, I have taken on the task of directing a scene from the play. The scene I have chosen to direct is the immigration officers raid on the house – (pages 74-77). I think this is a very important scene in the play, due to the fact that this is when the immigration officers capture and take away Marco and Rodolpho.
A lot of different attitudes are displayed in this scene, and all the tensions between certain characters become released. Real thoughts and opinions are expressed which allow the audience to view different sides of the characters and how they feel towards each other, which maybe they haven’t had a chance to view in previous scenes. This scene comes just after the love scene between Rodolpho and Catherine, so the audience will be happy and content about the outcome of the play thinking it will be positive.
However, then everything changes and the audience become suspicious of Eddie when he comes in on Catherine and Rodolpho together and kisses Catherine passionately and Rodolpho in violent mockery. This results in conformation of their plans to marry which would make certain Eddie lost Catherine for sure. At this point Eddie phones the Immigration Bureau to report on the immigrants presence. He wants Rodolpho out of the way and does not care who else suffers. The audience now become very suspicious of Eddie and expect bad things to follow.
With the fight for Catherine and the great tension between Rodolpho and Eddie, the audience are drawn in and want to know what Eddie will do about him. Eddies situation is ironic: he acts to keep Catherine, but drives her away; he acts to keep his good name, but destroys it. I want the audience to expect another tense meeting between Eddie and Marco and in my directing I will try to add lots of tension in the scene, especially between the pair. I will use special ways of making the audience feel how I want them to about certain characters, and allow the audience to see a new side of them.
74-77- Immigration Officers Raid; As soon as the immigration men turn up at the door I want there to be a mad panic inside the house to save Marco and Rodolpho. This will be done by Beatrice franticly rushing the immigrants upstairs whilst Catherine runs around the house trying to hide anything which would be associated with the immigrants. Lots of quick movement and whispering will be used to highlight the panic and rushing. In my first section of the scene, Eddie tries covering up the immigrant’s presence by pretending he knows nothing about them.
I want my men from the Bureau to be presented as reasonable representatives of law and order with smart uniform, handcuffs and badges etc. In scene I want them to be seen by the audience as just two men doing their job and wanting to get in and out- hassle free and always remaining in control of a dramatic situation when things get out of hand. I will point out examples of this when they are reached in the scene. The officers yell to be let in and Eddie immediately comes to the door and says; “All right, take it easy, take it easy.