Set in the 1950s, “A View From the Bridge” is about an American family whose lives are affected by two Italian immigrants. One of the immigrants, Rodolpho, falls in love with the family’s daughter, which ultimately causes tension, betrayal and destruction.
Gage Tarlton, who plays Rodolpho, is doing something he’d always been nervous to do — dye his hair. But this time, he has a reason. He wants to fit the part.
“I’ve always wanted to dye my hair, and now I had an excuse to do it,” Tarlton said. “So if it looked bad, I could say I did it for a show, and it wouldn’t be a big deal.”
Like Combemale, Tarlton also has past connections to Miller. He saw “A View From The Bridge” in fall 2015 before he came to UNC. At the time, he was on a quest to find his dream college, but he was also on a quest to find the show’s script. He hunted for it everywhere, but could never find it — except for in a little bookshop on Franklin Street.
“That’s how I knew it was fate to come to school here,” Tarlton said, “and two years later, we end up doing it.”
Producer Lauren Toney, who focuses on the logistics of the show, hasn’t even seen a full performance. She’s excited for UNC's production because it’s an Arthur Miller show. She said that most people are only familiar with “The Crucible,” so it’s good to see a change in pace.
There’s a lot more to this show than its drama and several Tony Awards. These UNC students are coming together because of their love for Miller. So rather than just act the story out, they’re going to show it in other ways, too.
The original production normally includes a set with tables, lamps and other props. For Company Carolina’s version, Combemale is stripping the set to only a few props. With just a wooden chair and two black blocks, the story will be told through the senses with pools of light, shadows describing the characters’ motions and sounds enhancing their language and action.
“I don’t think a set necessarily adds to the show like this because it’s all about the characters and the relationships,” Toney said. “And Chris makes a big use of lighting and sound. It is every couple seconds and a change, but that’s all to create this perfectly timed piece of art.”
After weeks of rehearsing in open spaces in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union, Monday night marked the first rehearsal where all the technical elements of the show finally came together.
The students only have a few more days to prepare until they go live this weekend, but their calm anticipation shows they are ready to go.
“This production will be a more dynamic, more physical, more ruthless production than people have ever seen before,” Combemale said. “I think people are unused to the type and style of theater that we’re doing onstage. I’m not saying that what I’m doing is innovative, but here at UNC, it’s done far less often.”