Few playwrights can distill a sweeping thought down to its potent essence like Arthur Miller. “Attention must be paid, ” Linda Loman demands of us in “Death of a Salesman,” and woe to the cold-hearted theatergoer who doesn’t respond to such an inducement of collective guilt. In Miller’s 1955 “A View From the Bridge,” now in a finely wrought revival at American Theater Company, again a line jumps out and hovers in the air long after it’s been uttered. Eddie Carbone (the nicely conflicted John Sterchi) is an Italian-American dockworker in Brooklyn with the hots for his teenage niece, Catherine (Kelly Breheny, in a performance that brings to mind a not-so-crass Leah Remini). It is a bad situation to say the least, and one that can only end in a fatal outbreak of violence. Desperate to salvage what life they have left, Eddie’s wife, Beatrice (the very strong Mierka Girten) pleads with him to admit the truth and set aside his alpha-male pride just this one time: “The truth is not as bad as blood, Eddie!” Now if that doesn’t stop you in your tracks and conjure visions of the war Iraq, I don’t know what will. What director Damon Kiely does so well in this production is to highlight Miller’s working-man’s poetry, parsing out universal human truths like a butcher hatching into a carcass of meat. (Nina Metz)
“A View From the Bridge” plays at the American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron, (773)929-1031, through November 7.