View's Teresa Banham on... Arthur Miller and playing Beatrice

View's Teresa Banham on... Arthur Miller and playing Beatrice

Friday, 13 March 2015

AView from the Bridge Teresa Banham on playing Beatrice, working alongside Jonathan Guy Lewis, and what she thinks of her characters future. 

Teresa Banham on stage with Jonathan Guy Lewis who plays EddieTell us about your character, Beatrice. Who is she and what motivates her?
Beatrice is a working class woman who’s main occupation is running her home and managing her family. A role handed down through generations and virtually in her DNA. I think she is motivated by love. An overt love for her family, and a more private and intense love for Eddie. 

Why did you want to accept your role in this production?
It’s a great play. 

Jonny Guy Lewis plays your husband, Eddie Carbone. What do you think he brings to the role?
At the risk of sounding like I’m reviewing him, I think he brings a brilliant combination of playful, loving warmth and unpredictable dangerous alpha male. He’s likeable, so you can’t help but wish he wouldn’t behave like such an arse! (Am I allowed to say that?)

What’s been your previous experience of Arthur Miller? How do you rate him as a playwright?
I’ve seen four productions of A view from the bridge. All brilliant. He’s just a fantastically good playwright.

A View from the Bridge is often compared to a Greek tragedy. Do you think the description fits? Why?
Yes, it really is. Like Greek tragedy, you know at the start that it’s going to end badly, so you can really enjoy the psychological detail of how the tragedy unfolds. I’m reading ‘ The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt at the moment. Her central character describes Greek as “ a language obsessed with action, and with the joy of seeing action multiply from action, action marching relentlessly ahead and with yet more actions filing in from either side to fall into neat step at the rear, in a long straight rank of cause and effect toward what will be inevitable, the only possible end." 

Do you have any rituals before performing onstage each night?
Rituals? Um..Nothing particularly eccentric. I warm up physically and vocally. I run my lines a lot, not so much for remembering them but to look for something in them that I might have missed. 

Any things/creature comforts/good luck charms you must have in your digs or dressing room when touring?
I’m not really superstitious, but for comfort I usually travel my good luck cards to each venue and this time I have a framed photo of my fella in my digs.

What do you think the future holds for Beatrice after the end of the play?
It’s so difficult to imagine the afterlife of a character in a play that feels so satisfyingly complete. Eddie was the love of her life and I don’t think she would ever recover from his tragic death sufficiently to have another relationship. I think she would take care of her mother and spend a lot of time in church. She would pray for her cousins and she would find people to take care of. Maybe even grudgingly befriend Mrs Dondero! And after a long long time she would reconcile with Catherine.

Having done A View From the Bridge, are there any other Miller roles you’d like to add to your CV?
I would always love to do any Miller play.

Why should people come see this production?
Because it’s a great story, brilliantly told. 

A View from the Bridge opened at Theatre Royal, Nottingham, where it ran from 4 to 7 March 2015. It then toured to Cheltenham, Darlington, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Coventry and Edinburgh, where it concluded on 2 May.