Video: Michael Brandon’s 7 childhood memories that prepared him for Arthur Miller

Video: Michael Brandon’s 7 childhood memories that prepared him for Arthur Miller

Friday, 27 March 2015

Brooklyn-born Michael Brandon plays the narrator Alfieri, a Brooklyn lawyer, in the Touring Consortium production of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge. In this video interview from the rehearsal room, he explains how his own childhood was perfect research for the play.

1. “I have a slight advantage over the rest of the cast because I come from whence it is written.”


2. “You know I’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve crossed the Brooklyn Bridge.


3. “Crossing that [the Brooklyn Bridge] is spanning a lifetime, generations and moving on in your life. My big move to the city – we used to call Manhattan the city – that’s where I started my acting. So it all comes around.”


4. “If you’re born in New York, it’s the best place in the world. You can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy. So it’s there.”


5. “My father was a labourer. He didn’t finish high school. He was first generation. My mother didn’t go to school, maybe two years and then she went to work. They had to support their families. They used to push vegetable carts for two or three cents an hour.”


6. “People came there to make a better life. They didn’t come to get one, they came to make one. And they brought their skills, their education, their talent and their family. There was a very strong sense of family back then.”


7. “My father used to say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. And then one day I had an answer, it took about 20 years, I said, ‘Dad, you’re not a dog’.”


And on the characters of Alfieri and Eddie Carbone in A View From the Bridge


“Alfieri… is basically Miller’s View from the Bridge because he’s moved on but he can see the difference and he makes that gap more understandable."


“[Eddie] is trapped by his culture, by everything around him that bears him down. This is his life. He had no expectations. He goes to work, gets his money, he raises a family. That’s his life.”


And on why the Touring Consortium’s learning and outreach projects were a big attraction


“We want young people to wake up to these words of Arthur Miller, to see these kind of classics, to get involved in theatre. That’s what we’re trying to do, to bring this timeless material back.”


Watch to find out more and to hear full answers to the following questions:

  • Who is Alfieri in A View From the Bridge?
  • How does your own Brooklyn upbringing affect your approach to the play?
  • Do you recognise the world portrayed by Miller?
  • Tell us about Jonathan Guy-Lewis in the role of Eddie Carbone.
  • Why should people see A View From the Bridge?


Interview by Terri Paddock. Video edited by Nick Rice for TheatreCloud

A View from the Bridge opened at Theatre Royal, Nottingham, where it ran from 4 to 7 March 2015. It then toured to Cheltenham, Darlington, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Coventry and Edinburgh, where it concluded on 2 May.