New Haven's Q Bridge takes center stage in Long Wharf Theatre's 'A View from the Bridge'
New Haven Harbor and the Q Bridge will serve as the backdrop for Long Wharf Theatre’s latest production, “A View from the Bridge” which runs Feb. 10 through March 10 at New Haven’s Canal Dock Boathouse.
Arthur Miller’s play is about an Italian-American family living in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. New Haven’s waterfront is reminiscent of Red Hook in the 1950s, where the play is set, according to Rachel Alderman, Long Wharf’s associate artistic director.
“The audience experience begins when you approach the venue,” Alderman said. “So you'll see the harbor, you'll see the boats. And once you're in the space itself, it will feel like Red Hook Brooklyn, the docks of Red Hook, Brooklyn have been lifted up and put into our event space.”
The performances take place in the Canal Dock Boathouse’s ballroom, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the harbor. Alderman said site-specific locations can incorporate unexpected real-world elements that enhance the storytelling in a way that can't be replicated in a traditional theater space.
“Two days ago, when we were here, we were watching the actors do a scene about immigration and labor,” Alderman said. And a barge goes by on the harbor and the American flag is flying off of the barge. And suddenly, things you didn't plan for are layered into the context of the scene in a way that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.”
Venturing outside traditional theater spaces has become an integral part of Long Wharf Theater’s mission. In 2022, Long Wharf announced it would leave its permanent space on Sargent Drive and stage performances throughout Greater New Haven.
“When artists come to us and say we have a project that we want to work on, rather than them having to work within the confines of our existing space, we get to say to that artist, ‘What's the right container for your offering? What's the right space to tell your particular story?” said Long Wharf Artistic Director Jacob Padrón back in 2022. “So it allows us to expand our imagination of what a theater company can be and how we want to be in relationship to audiences.”
“One of the most exciting things about this new model, which is one of the reasons we are leaning into it, is that it brings us into relationships with partners and audience members throughout not only the city of New Haven, but the region of New Haven and beyond,” said Rachel Alderman. “So that's been an incredible part of this journey for us.”