Playwright: Arthur Miller
Synopsis: Mr Alfieri, a smalltime lawyer in an Italian-American neighbourhood near Brooklyn Bridge, narrates the tragedy of Eddie Carbone. A longshoreman married to Beatrice and guardian of orphaned niece Catherine, he houses Beatrice’s relatives Rodolpho and Marco who arrive as illegal immigrants. The steadily growing attraction between Rodolpho and Catherine rouses the deeply repressed desire that has seen Eddie keep his niece wrapped in cotton wool. To sabotage their impending marriage (and Rodolpho’s subsequent citizenship) he reports their presence to Immigration and is shunned by his community. His inability to acknowledge his need for Catherine results in his eventual death at the hands of an enraged Marco.
What moved me: the care of Miller’s stage directions.
[EDDIE is downstage, watching as she pours a spoonful of sugar into his cup, his face puffed with trouble, and the room dies.]
[She looks past the sobbing CATHERINE at EDDIE, who in the presence of his wife, makes an awkward gesture of eroded command, indicating CATHERINE.]
[CATHERINE, sensing now an imperious demand, turns with some fear, with a discovery, to BEATRICE. She is at the edge of tears, as though a familiar world had shattered.]
[MARCO is face to face with EDDIE, a strained tension gripping his eyes and jaw, his neck stiff, the chair raised like a weapon over EDDIE’S head – and he transforms what might appear like a glare of warning into a smile of triumph, and EDDIE’s grin vanishes as he absorbs his look.]