(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/12; via Pam Green.)
This must be what Greek tragedy once felt like, when people went to the theater in search of catharsis. Ivo van Hove’s magnificent reconception of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge,” which opened on Thursday night at the Lyceum Theater, takes you into extreme emotional territory that you seldom dare visit in daily life.
At the end of its uninterrupted two hours, you are wrung out, scooped out and so exhausted that you’re wide awake. You also feel ridiculously blessed to have been a witness to the terrible events you just saw.
Mr. van Hove, a Belgian director who has become the contemporary theater’s most celebrated exponent of maximal minimalism, has stripped stark naked Miller’s 1956 drama of a self-imploding Brooklyn longshoreman. And what he and his cast, led by the astonishing Mark Strong, find beneath the play’s period trappings and kitchen-sink naturalism is a pure primal force. In this centennial year of Miller’s birth, his exalted notion that classic tragedy and the common man can indeed coexist has never seemed so organic.
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