I hadn't been planning to see the new revival of "A View From the Bridge," but several things turned my indifference to enthusiasm. First, the upcoming revival of "The Crucible," also by Arthur Miller. Then, too, the director, whose recent "Antigone," with Juliet Binoche had moved me. And, finally, the prospect of on-stage seating lured me in, although it seems like a silly gimmick to promise a more "visceral" experience when, in fact, we're more likely to see the flaws of the actors process that don't show from the traditional seats.
So I splurged. Preview ticket prices are, for this show at least, cheaper, so it was a splurge more so because I'd been a glutton for theater since moving back to New York, and had already feasted on "Old Times," "The King and I," "Hedwig," and several other shows. And then disaster struck: a huge rain storm which conspired to bring traffic to a stop. I had started to the theater with plenty of time, knowing that they warn everyone to be in their seats five minutes before curtain. But the rain and a lousy cab driver meant that I ended up dashing on my feet to get to the theater just after the play had started. No worries, the Lyceum staff assured me and the others who were arriving late. They couldn't get me to my stage seat, but would seat me in the mezzanine. Or, they offered, I could get a letter to trade my ticket for another day. I decided to stay, but then was alarmed to see that rather than taking the late-comers as a group, they were walking each of us up individual, one at a time. When it was my turn, they took me upstairs, pointed to a seat in the middle of the third row, and told me that was where I should go. This surprised me as well, since I'd been expecting to slip quietly into a seat in the back, where few people would notice.
So I stood, blocking the view of everyone, waiting for the people on the end of the row to move and let me in. But they refused. I stood a bit longer, turned to find the usher to help, but the usher was gone. I was standing alone in the aisle, blocking the view of many of the audience, and the people in the seats were still refusing to let me in. Rather than continue to cause a distraction, I retreated to the lobby and explained the situation. No problem, they said, even though it was a problem. We can give you the letter. Fine, I agreed. And they gave me a letter and returned my ticket and as I left the theater I realized that the letter didn't really grant me anything in return for my ticket. Here's what it offers: If, on a weekday, I call the theater and they have seats available, they may allow me to take a seat. But they also may not. Since I work during the week, and since my adding anything to my schedule requires some planning in advance, the possibility of my ever being able to return to the Lyceum to see if they might grant me a seat is pretty slim.
And so this is my review of "A View From the Bridge."