photo: Joan Marcus
In Arthur Miller's oft-revived drama, which puts a Greek tragedy in an Italian-American household in Red Hook circa 1955, we watch a longshoreman (Liev Schreiber) tortured by unfulfilled desire when the niece (Scarlett Johannson) he raised as a daughter prepares to leave the nest. This production isn't likely to make anyone initially confuse him with a loving, overprotective surrogate parent - Schreiber plays the character like he has something to be ashamed of from the get-go. His clenched-fist performance goes too far in that direction to permit much identification with him - that mutes the tragedy somewhat, but compensates with a distinct ferocity. Johansson is terrific - she disappears into the character so easily and achieves her effects so simply that she seems effortless. Jessica Hecht, as the longshoreman's long-suffering wife, is best of all. She renders the character's no-nonsense clarity and inner strength without putting her on a cross.