The play begins in Red Hook Brooklyn, which has an Italian-American community, right on the New York City waterfront.
Alfieri (a lawyer in his fifties) appears on the stage and heads into his office that is visible on stage. After moving some papers on his desk, he pauses and directly addresses the audience.
Alfieri explains that he was born in Italy and that he immigrated when he was twenty-five years old.
He explains the Red Hook neighbourhood, the slums on the seaward side of the Brooklyn Bridge, where Sicilians will now settle for half (they are forced to accommodate Sicilian culture with American law), an example of this is he no longer keeps his gun in his filing cabinet.
His wife has told him that the neighbourhood lacks elegance as it is full of Longshoremen and their families.
Alfieri compares himself with a lawyer in the time of Caesar, powerless to watch the events of that tragedy.
Eddie walks up to his apartment ( which is found on the second floor). Catherine (his niece) waves out the window to him. Eddie goes on to lecture her about her new wavy walk down the street.
Eddie is annoyed by all the attention the boys are giving her in the community and wants Catherine to stop waving out the window as a result.
Eddie calls Beatrice ( his wife) into the room and he tells her that her cousins have landed. The cousins have been smuggled over on a ship from Italy and will be given seamen’s papers to get off the ship with the crew.
As they’ve arrived early, Beatrice is worried because she thinks the house is not clean enough, however, Eddie assures her the cousins will just be grateful for any place to stay. Eddie tells Beatrice about how kind she is that he will end up sleeping on the floor while her cousins rest in his bed.
Eddie sits at the table as Beatrice and Catherine prepare the table for dinner.
Catherine explains to Eddie that she’s been offered a job as a stenographer. Eddie is reluctant to the idea, however, Beatrice finally convinces him to let her take the job.
As they eats dinner, Eddie warns Catherine and Beatrice about housing Beatrice’s cousins. Eddie and Beatrice recall the story of a boy who snitched to the immigration police about his own uncle staying in the house.
The uncle was beaten and taken from the family’s home. The stage lights focus on Alfieri, who forwards the time to ten o’clock and reflects on Eddie.
The stage focus is now onto the home where Marco and Rodolpho ( two brothers) have just arrived. The family warmly receives the cousins. Beatrice is overjoyed to see her cousin, and Catherine is stunned by the younger brother Rodolpho’s blonde hair.
The cousins discuss their lives in Italy and dreams for living in the U.S. Marco is married and has three kids and he wants to send his earnings home to his children.
Rodolpho is unmarried and would like to become an American. He wants a motorcycle when he is rich.
Eddie is disturbed at Catherine’s interest in Rodolpho and suddenly asks her why she has high heels on and demands that she go to the bedroom to change.
A View From The Bridge
Eddie Carbone is a longshoreman and a straightforward man, with a strong sense of decency and of honour. For Eddie, it’s a privilege to take in his wife’s cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, straight off the boat from Italy. But, as his niece Catherine begins to fall for one of them, it’s clear that it’s not just, as Eddie claims, that he’s too strange, too sissy, too careless for her, but that something bigger, deeper is wrong – and wrong inside Eddie, in a way he can’t face. Something which threatens the happiness of their whole family.