What makes a play different from other literary forms is the fact it is purposely written to encapture and involves its watching audience. Stage directions play an essential role in this process, starting with the very basic events such as the introduction of a scene, entrance or exit of characters and giving details about the atmosphere. They go on to give the director details about how the writer wanted the play to be acted out, the casting director details on how the characters should looks and so on. They also can tell the actors how they should behave and deliver their lines. Stage directions allow the playwright to portray his ideas across to the audience.
Different types of direction are given, that provoke the actors to do different things, such as facial expressions or their stance. Even at the start of the play, we are already made aware of the rising tensions in the Carbone household. The first indication of problems in the household appears almost instantly between Eddie and Catherine, In relation to her appearance. As soon as he mentions her skirt is too short she quickly ‘stands’ and seems to be on the defence.
This gives the impression that she dislikes his disapproval. Eddie goes on to moan that men will be looking at her, hinting that he dislikes any interest in her from other men, she isn’t ‘all the girls’ and doesn’t want her treated like she is. Catherine was ‘almost in tears’, showing how seriously she takes his views. Eddie acting like this could be seen by the audience as him being over protective …but in his opinion he is just looking out for her. She is growing up and his disapproval could be seen as any ‘fathers’ concern for their child entering the adult world.
Another cause of tension is Eddies disapproval a job Beatrice has been offered, when the job offer is unveiled to him he seems to be ‘strangely nervous’, it seems to make him feel uncomfortable. To make matters worse, Beatrice seems to take Eddies side on the matter, seeming to aggravate him even more. Again thoughts of her entering the adult world. But are these beyond normal concerns?
Another looming event is the arrival of the cousins from Italy, they are illegally entering America and much emphasis is made by Eddie on how the rest of the household should behave. When Catherine asks about possible comments made by people about the visitors, Eddie looks at her as if she has ‘divulged something publicly’. This makes it seem like he is uncomfortable at even the thought of it, possibly because he is already worried about if people do ask questions, and she has highlighted this. The killer look Eddie gave Catherine seems to scream ‘keep your mouths shut’.
With the arrival of Beatrice’s cousins, the tension rises in the Carbone household. The audience is quickly aware of the tension and the instant dislike Eddie seems to have taken towards Rodolfo. This is made immediately clear when he ‘shakes Marcos hand’ and ‘takes Marcos bags’, possibly showing Rodolfo and element of rejection because of his untypical Italian appearance. Another explanation would be that Rodolfo is a young and attractive charmer. Catherine was ‘enthralled’ by him, this is another reason that Eddie could base his dislike on. His interruption of ‘Paper
Doll’ leaving him ‘flushed’ suggests a surge of emotion for young Catherine. He seems to be sizing up Rodolfo, with ‘Concealed suspicion’, making him seem wary of the way this stranger seems to interact with Catherine. Later on in the section the atmosphere heats up between Beatrice and her husband, when she raises issues about the lack love in their marriage. Eddies seems to be embarrassed about the whole topic, ‘he is already weakening’ shows a nerve has been hit and he isn’t comfortable discussing the subject for any longer.
The way Eddies usually argumentative persona has been quashed by the mention of this embarrassing topic seem to make it even clearer that he is uncomfortable with the subject in question. The stage directions used about this seem to mirror the problem from which Eddie is suffering and his obvious refusal to discuss it is guaranteed to make the whole issue worse. In another conversation which questions his manliness he seems to dismiss the issue by ‘walking off’.
The first meeting between Alfieri is another milestone moment in the play. As Eddie first talks to Alfieri he seems reserved and not intent on pouring out all the problems that he has been bottling up. Little does he know he is setting himself up for trouble? He seems embarrassed, ‘glancing up at Alfieri, then down to the floor’ is a good example of Eddie acting wary and self conscious, about what he is going to choose to disclose. The Italian culture seems to encourage men to keep up the ‘mega macho’ persona, and at the time homosexuality was so heavily frowned upon in society it was a criminal offence. Eddie seems upset by this as he is very aware of the shame this could bring upon his family if his suspicions became public.
Having spoken with Alfieri in the last section of the play, Eddie has become aware that he will have to adopt new tactics if he is to follow his plan to discourage Rodolfo. But a rare, relaxed atmosphere seems to reign in the Carbone household as meal time ends, it doesn’t last long. Friendly banter develops into bickering and Eddies dislike for Rodolfo becomes present once again. Tension rises when Eddie says that ‘ranges are green’ and Rodolfo corrects him. Eddie ‘resents this’ and the jovial atmosphere quickly evaporates.
Eddie realises that he is allowing the household to see what he is thinking, ‘holding back a voice full of anger’; he attempts to retreat from the conversation by going ‘to his rocker’ Eddie then makes a sweeping statement about Marcos wife’s fidelity, this irritates Marco and he put Eddie straight. Rodolfo leaps to Marcos aide, Eddie ‘rises’ and ‘paces’ up and down, seeming angered by the comments made. They continue to speak of Catherine.