RENOWNED American playwright Arthur Miller's drama A View from the Bridge was written in 1956, but the issues it looks at have had recent productions in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide playing to packed houses, with many audience members returning to see it a second time.
The central character, Eddie Carbone, is a dock worker in a shipping harbour alongside the original bridge across New York's East River that linked Brooklyn, a working class suburb, with the more upmarket Manhattan.
Like Eddie, many of Brooklyn's residents at that time were members of Italian migrant families who had come to New York in the hope of having a better life there. But some politicians and other officials who saw themselves as protectors of American values - most notably Senator Joseph McCarthy - tried in the late 1940s and early 1950s to prevent any people from what they saw as "totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive" countries from coming to the United States.
This so-called McCarthyism led to many would-be immigrants resorting to illegal means of entry.
In Miller's play, Eddie Carbone, who is 40, agrees to support his older wife, Italian-born Beatrice, in preventing people from finding out that two of her cousins who live in Sicily are coming to New York without passports or visas to get jobs that will help them to have a better life.
The two men are brothers. The older one, Marco, has three young children and is planning to send the money he earns to his wife, so that the infants can have educations that will them to get good jobs. Once he has earned enough money, he will go back to his family.
The younger brother, Rodolpho, has dyed blonde hair and excels in cooking, sewing, dancing and singing.
And, showing his ambition to be a popular singer, he delivers a lively version of the song Paper Doll, entrancing Catherine, the orphaned 17-year-old niece of Beatrice.
Many Australian theatregoershave clearly seen parallels between the events in the play and the recent attempts by this country's officials to prevent boatloads of would-be immigrants from living here. And there are certainly elements of that in the script.
Newcastle Theatre Company is staging A View from the Bridge at its Lambton venue from August 24 to September 7, with co-direction by wife and husband Janet Nelson and Howard Rawlinson.
The reputation of the play has attracted a strong performance team.
Lee Mayne is Eddie, Katy Carruthers is Beatrice, Yasmin Ling is Catherine, Phil McGrath is Marco, and Oliver MacFadyen is Rodolpho.
The other main character is Altieri, a well-educated American lawyer who is a member of an Italian family and still respects their homeland's customs.
He's the story's symbolic bridge, linking the two cultures, and often observing what is happening from side or back of the stage and commenting on it. He is played by Paul Russell.
Actors David Smith, David Murray, David Gubbay and Libby Devenney play multiple roles, including neighbours and immigration officials.
The story will be presented against the background of a bridge structure, designed and created by professional set builder Mark Swartz and his company, Feather Edge Design.
Howard Rawlinson, who was a professional actor and director in Britain before migrating to Australia in 2006, saw a production of the play in Liverpool in the 1960s and was intrigued by it, seeing Eddie to be a man with family problems but not having an evil nature. He points to the story being so attention-grabbing that it doesn't need the trappings of venues such as Altieri's office when people come to get his advice.
Lee Mayne likewise views the play as powerful and emotional and an appropriate work for a time when the world was facing turmoil.
A View from the Bridge opens at the NTC Theatre, in DeVitre Street, Lambton, with an 8pm show on Saturday, August 24, followed by a 2pm matinee on Sunday, August 25.
There will be Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 8pm performances each week until Saturday, September 7, plus a 2pm matinee also on the final day.
Tickets are $35 (concession $30) and can be booked by ringing the theatre from 3-6pm from Monday to Friday, or online at www.newcastletheatrecompany.com.au
THE popularity of country music has been shown by the success of Leaving Jackson: The Johnny Cash & June Carter Show since it was first performed in February 2018.
Country music artists Jeff Carter and Brooke McMullen, who are Queensland-based, began touring the show they put together in February 2018, and it continued to move around mainly Queensland venues that year.
But this year the popularity of the show lead to many more presentations around Australia, plus five New Zealand venues in March.
Since the tour began, 40 venues have hosted the show, with many performances sold out.
This year's shows included one at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on May 24.
This month, there will be presentations at Gosford's Laycock Street Theatre and Newcastle's Civic Theatre.
The two-hour show looks through 40 songs that Johnny Cash and June Carter performed - among them Ring of Fire, Walk the Line, Get Rhythm, A Boy Named Sue and Folsom Prison Blues - at how Cash and Carter met in 1956 and subsequently were wed, and their lives until they both died in 2003.
The Laycock Street Theatre show is on Friday, August 23 at 7.30pm, and the Civic Theatre performance on Saturday, August 31 at 7.30pm.