Richland Players opens its 2012-13 season Sept. 7 with Arthur Miller's drama A View from the Bridge.
Director Joyce Bean says the play has a dark theme in part because it touches on the risky business of harboring illegal Italians in New York City during the 1950s.
"I have wanted to direct this play for at least a decade and have asked that it be placed on the play reading committee's list many times," Bean told the Herald. "I am so excited and thankful for the chance to bring such a powerful, layered and resonant work to our community."
The story follows the life of longshoreman Eddie Carbone, a hard-working family man supporting his wife Beatrice and 17-year-old orphaned niece Catherine, whom the couple raised from childhood -- all told by a narrator who is Eddie's neighbor Alfieri, an attorney.
The other darker side of the story also deals with Eddie's improper fondness for his niece, which he fervently denies. Struggles begin when Eddie agrees to take in two of his Italian cousins, Rodolpho and Marco, who entered the United States illegally.
Eddie harbors them in his apartment and gets them jobs on the docks. Trouble brews when Catherine falls for Rodolpho. Eddie's love for Catherine turns to jealousy that spirals into violence and death.
A View from the Bridge is definitely an adult-themed play in the usual Arthur Miller style that includes the more dismal side of human desire.
Michael Thomas plays Eddie with Eric Eberle as Rodolpho. Christy Batayola plays Beatrice and Crystina Feduk plays Catherine. Marco is played by Mark Miranda. Alfieri the narrator is played by Jeff Schlicher.
"The story is gripping and suspenseful to me," Bean said. "I grew up in the '50s and the family dynamics are known to me. I was sure I could make the play come to life."
She adds that A View From The Bridge might carry a heavy message, but it also has a few lighter moments.
"I see this play as a study of human instincts, family and community dynamics," Bean said. "And the effect personal choices have on so many lives. That might sound dry and preachy, but I can guarantee that this play will be a memorable experience."
Curtain time is 8 p.m. Sept. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 with 2 p.m. matinees on Sept. 15 and 23. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 for seniors and students and are available at the box office.
The Players Theater is at 610 The Parkway in Richland.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org