Eddie (Frederick Weller) looks on as Catherine (Catherine Combs) is captivated by Rodolpho (Dave Register) during Ivo van Hove’s assembly of Arthur Miller’s “A Appearance From the Bridge” at the Ahmanson Theatre. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Arthur Miller begins his ball “A Appearance From the Bridge” with date admonition on how a bashful accommodation in Red Hook, Brooklyn, about 1956 should look: a “clean” and “homely” living allowance and dining room; a agitation armchair bottomward front; a annular dining table with chairs; a carriageable phonograph.
None of these elements was arresting on the date of the Ahmanson Theatre on a contempo morning back Ivo van Hove was fine-tuning his assembly of the archetypal play, which he aboriginal directed at the Young Vic in London and after brought to Broadway, area it won Tony Awards for awakening and administrator in June.
“Stay as abutting to the bend as possible,” he told the actors, council them to the ambit of the production’s minimalist set — a long, ellipsoidal belvedere that suggests a appearance balustrade afire to a angelic glow.
That advance to the bend symbolizes the aesthetic spirit of the absolute production. In abounding respects, this re-imagining of “A Appearance From the Bridge,” set to accessible at the Ahmanson on Wednesday, is clashing any awakening of the comedy that has appear afore — an exhausted estimation that is both affectionate and defamiliarizing.
“Wait for the beat, again about-face your head,” Van Hove after instructed an actor, analogous movement with the production’s percussive music track. The atomic action turns out to be acute back there’s little abroad on date but actors ambit one addition with dance-like physicality. Visually, Van Hove’s apperception has the spare, antibacterial attending of a abreast art arcade that one ability acquisition in Red Hook, Brooklyn, about 2016.
“The actuality that it’s so empty — there are no backdrop — it becomes actual sculptural,” said the Belgian-born, Amsterdam-based administrator during a breach in dress rehearsals. “It’s like Noh theater, after actuality too formal.”
The overarching concept, he said, was “to about-face what Miller wrote into a avant-garde Greek tragedy and not into a naturalistic ancestors ball about immigrants. That’s not what it’s about.”
The assembly opens with the set amid in a behemothic box-like structure, with rows of admirers benches on both sides, like a avant-garde booty on an age-old amphitheater. Back the set reveals itself, it’s like Pandora’s box aperture up, according to Jan Versweyveld, who advised the sets and lighting.
The generally acute lighting feels “like these bodies are the accountable of a class investigation,” he said. “It’s additionally a affectionate of voyeurism. The actors accept no aloofness at all, and the admirers is watching the admirers on the added side.”
Director Ivo van Hove accepts the Tony Award for administration of a comedy for “A Appearance From the Bridge” in New York on June 12. (Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
“A Appearance From the Bridge” has about consistently been performed as a slice-of-life 1950s-era drama, with astute sets and costumes. In this production, the casting wears abreast business-casual clothes — accepted shirts and slacks for the men, blouses and skirts for the women.
The anarchistic access was accustomed by Rebecca Miller, the playwright’s daughter and a filmmaker whose latest feature, “Maggie’s Plan,” opened this year. She oversees the rights to her father’s anatomy of work.
“I’m consistently absorbed in new perspectives on the plays,” she said via email.
“What Ivo has done is to band abroad the accouterment of the comedy and leave the language, actualization its age-old power, which springs from a basis of animal animal obsession.”
The apparent female of the comedy takes centermost date in the production’s aboriginal few minutes, back longshoreman Eddie Carbone (Frederick Weller) takes a battery in abounding appearance of the audience. (The amateur is shirtless but keeps his pants on.)
A ancestors man ambiguous against the abyss, Eddie lives with his wife, Beatrice, and his orphaned 17-year-old niece, Catherine. His calm activity is disrupted by the accession of two macho ancestors from Italy, one of whom catches the eye of Catherine, sparking annoyance in Eddie.
Weller said he saw the contempo Broadway run featuring a altered casting led by Mark Strong, and Weller after auditioned for the L.A. assurance the day afore the Tony Awards.
Van Hove is the affectionate of administrator “who’s not acting out of fear,” Weller said. “And that’s what you don’t appetite in a administrator — addition who’s afraid or afraid about critics.”
The comedy is anecdotal by an all-seeing choir played by amateur Thomas Jay Ryan, who has appeared in a few of Van Hove’s productions including Molière’s “The Misanthrope” at New York Theatre Workshop and aftermost spring’s awakening of Miller’s “The Crucible” on Broadway.
At first, “I affectionate of advancing a absolutist presence, a absolute European director, because I knew his assignment and it’s so forceful,” Ryan recalled. “But he absolutely is affable with actors.”
Which isn’t to say that he’s easy: On the aboriginal day of rehearsals, which took abode in New York afore affective to L.A., casting associates were accepted to be “off book,” or to apperceive all their lines, which is a aberration in the amphitheater world.
“Not alone that, we were all in costumes, on a cartoon set and there were complete cues. That was alarming at first,” said extra Andrus Nichols, who plays Beatrice. But the aggregation was “incredibly able and grounded. It was a actual absolute and able allowance from the beginning.”
The casting of “A Appearance From the Bridge” rehearses at the Ahmanson. (David Ng / Los Angeles Times)
For one of Europe’s best in-demand date directors, Los Angeles ability assume like conflicting territory. But Van Hove said he enjoys advancing to Southern California.
“I appear actuality actual generally … like two times a year,” he said. “I was actuality four weeks ago. This is my hideaway. I like to relax, apprehend some books and sit at the pool.”
Since administering the two Miller plays on Broadway, Van Hove has kept a arranged schedule. He directed a date adjustment of the 1969 Luchino Visconti cine “The Damned” at this summer’s Festival d’Avignon in France, with actors from La Comédie-Française.
“It’s about absolutism and the acute appropriate wing, which is a huge affair in France appropriate now,” he said. “It was one of the greatest adventures of my life.”
Van Hove continues to advance the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the avant-garde Dutch amphitheater company, area abounding of his productions originated. Future projects accommodate a date adjustment of addition Visconti movie, “Obsession,” starring Jude Law, which will be a coproduction with London’s Barbican Centre.
This fall, Van Hove will restage his Shakespeare-themed “Kings of War” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and his assembly of Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” at London’s National Theatre, with Ruth Wilson of Showtime’s “The Affair” in the appellation role.
“For me, it’s a suicide play,” he said of “Hedda.” “I anticipate suicide is on her apperception from the aboriginal scene. It’s not a aftereffect of anything.”
But “A Appearance From the Bridge” charcoal his better all-embracing success. It has been performed on the West End and in Paris. After L.A., the assembly will biking to the Kennedy Centermost in Washington, D.C.
“I anticipate we were atom on with everything,” the administrator said. “Sometimes you accomplish every appropriate decision.”
Where: Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles
When: Opens Wednesday; ends Oct. 16
Information: (213) 972-4400 or www.centertheatregroup.org
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