This week on drama on the waterfront, A View from the Bridge actress Acushla-Tara Sutton talks about working on the next Circa One production and her newfound love of Arthur Miller.
DOTW: Is A View from the Bridge your first Miller play?
AS: It is indeed. And what a piece to start with! I’d never read any of Millers plays – contrary to popular belief, I actually studied commerce, not theatre, so the last four years were spent reading textbooks on marketing, human resources and tourism, not Shakespeare, Williams and Miller. I was, however, lucky enough to see The Price last year, which I really enjoyed, and after seeing A View from the Bridge appear in the 2014 Circa programme I managed to find a script online and fell in love with it. He has such a great way with words and I now understand why many believe him to be the best Western playwright of the 20th century.
DOTW: What are the things you have found most interesting about the play and Miller as a writer?
AS: The main thing that attracted me to this particular play was the language. It’s written dialectally so even just on the page you’re drawn into the detailed world Miller has created. It was also first written as a one act play entirely in verse and some of that poetic intention is left behind, which enhances the dialogue Miller has written in the version we have today. I also enjoy Miller’s focus on relationships: what they should be and what they can be … but you’ll have to come see the show to understand what I’m talking about.
DOTW: And the most testing?
AS: Hands down the passion of the piece. I’m playing a young Italian-American woman who has been raised in Brooklyn, New York, just emerging from puberty. Each one of those components affects the scale of her emotional responses, so altogether it is an extremely passionate piece. Being a New Zealander the key challenge has been embodying that passion, jumping far out of my comfort zone.
DOTW: When you first read your role of Catherine what was your first reaction?
AS: I fell in love with her beautiful naïveté and identified deeply, as any woman can, with her struggle and confusion as she attempts to navigate the adult world for the first time. I dislike the word ‘tragic’, but I think it describes her situation best. A sweet young girl, falling in love for the first time, confronted with an unexpected hurdle. She’s tragically sweet.
DOTW: Last year was very busy and successful for you. What were some of the highlights?
AS: In total I did 5 shows and a directing piece for Victoria University, as well as full-time tertiary studies. Finishing my studies was amazing. I finished in November, half way through the run of Con in Circa Two. After four years of juggling performance and studies it was great to be able to focus purely on my first passion. I also toured for the first time, performing in festivals in Wanaka and Christchurch with NZ Site Specific shows Salon and Hotel.
DOTW: And this year seems, so far, pretty busy too.
AS: It’s my first year ‘in the real world’ so it’s been a little nerve-wracking, especially in an industry known for its risk. It has been pretty busy, which I am so thankful for. I’ve worked behind the scenes on a couple of films, performed in the return season of Kings of the Gym, a development piece called 2080 and am now working on this show. I also recorded my first audiobook reading for RNZ and worked on a commercial. Long may it continue!
DOTW: And after A View from the Bridge – have you any plans?
AS: I’ll be heading up to Auckland after we close this show to see my sister perform in Hairspray. Aside from that (and a well-deserved rest!) I do not have anything booked in for the year yet. Time will tell I guess. For the meantime I’m just keen to get this show up and running and for the public to experience the intensity we’ve been living with for the past four weeks.
A View from the Bridge opens on 19 July and runs until 23 August. There will be a $25 Preivew on Friday, 18 July and a $25 matinee on Sunday, 20 July (although the matinee is nearly SOLD OUT!). To book, call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992 or visitwww.circa.co.nz.