What's it about?
Set in the 1950's in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a man's life slowly falls apart.
What'd I experience?
Much of this story reminded me of Shakespearean tragedy. It had a slow start - that seemed longer with 3 hours of sleep - but then slapped me with moments that, honestly, left me emotionally exhausted. The more shows I see the more disturbed I become when I realize similarities of myself in the most bizarre of characters.
In this case it was Eddie Carbone. It's really difficult to think of how to describe this man's story. The only thing I seemed to settle on was that life was outgrowing him. As a blue collar man, he had always had this priority to provide and protect his family, that being his niece and wife. In a book I had been reading recently there was a passage that immediately made me think of Eddie, "Mistakes are when we get tricked into realizing something we were never meant to realize, which is why stories are about mistakes." Unfortunately for Eddie that mistake involved an incestuous obsession with his 17 year old niece.
The obsession itself seems blatant from the start. The child-like greeting of climbing into his lap and the intimate caresses, that only seem appropriate between two lovers, cry out against being a loving uncle and go into creepy uncle territory. Although, the girl herself didn't necessarily encourage this treatment, it seemed to me that it was more so a part of her relationship with Eddie. The main difference was that when she was eight it wasn't as weird to let your uncle touch your unclothed thigh but at 17, in a mini skirt, he is probably looking more like a sugar daddy. Eddie himself shelters her by not letting her have a job, boyfriend, and borderline anything he doesn't find okay.
Eddie reminds me of an animal - which isn't weird since he is a mammal, but once his life starts crumbling he becomes competently irrational. Like an animal in the wild desperate for survival, he acts on instinct. When he is faced with Catherine falling in love with someone (Rudolpho) other than himself, he selfishly takes away any chance of them being together. The two kisses perfectly reflect Eddie's loss of control. I am still unsure if he created the idea that Rudolph might be gay or just made it up on the fly to use against Catherine being with him, but the kiss he forces on Rudolpho (after having planted one on Catherine!) seemed to be out of instinct to gain back credit with Catherine, as if proving that her fiance is gay will make her uncle being obsessed with her any better.
The set made me think about the change in Eddie's conscious, it starts out pure and innocent only to become stained with sin. The blood that pours and slowly makes the white stage a grim red showed, for me, the realization of a mistake that wasn't supposed to be discovered. In the end, all of Eddie's pretending only blinded him from the realization that the people around him would no longer stand around waiting for him to let them go.
Among all of Eddie's possessiveness, I found a relatable vulnerability. I have previously found myself in (less serious) situations where I imagine my actions as protecting someone, when in reality it was done out of a selfish part of me that believed that my 'plan' was the only one. The major difference between us is that Eddie continued his self-interested actions at the expense of his family. He has no outlet for his emotions. and ends up shifting all that hatred toward those who pose a threat to his reputation.