This year marks the 100th anniversary of playwright Arthur Miller’s birth, so it’s fitting that the latest revival of his classic play, A View From the Bridge, is making its way to Broadway. The Young Vic’s new stripped-down version, directed by Ivo van Hove, moved stateside this fall after two sold-out runs in London, and features an all-star cast including Mark Strong and Nicola Walker.
DuJour spoke to Walker, who reprises her role of scorned wife Beatrice Carbone, ahead of opening night. Best known for her numerous appearances on British television and on stage—she received an Olivier award for her role in the original production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in 2013—the actress talked about what it’s like to bring the iconic American play to New York City.
How did you become involved with the production?
I didn’t know that much about Ivo, and after I researched his theater company I started to wonder why I didn’t know who he was; and I was very keen to meet him. He doesn’t really audition, so it was quite awkward meeting him—I pretty much felt like I’d blown it. A week later I was asked to meet him again. By then I had seen one of his plays in London, and had absolutely loved it, so I very much wanted to work for him.
Even though many people already know the story, it’s still heartbreaking to watch it unfold. Does it feel like that onstage night after night?
Ivo said it’s like a car crash. You know what happens, but you are forced to sit and watch. These characters desperately try to make a different outcome and every night it ends with that image at the end.
Was the minimalistic, round set a challenge?
We’re like insects in a petri dish [laughs]. No matter where people are sitting they all go with us on the journey. You can feel them change allegiances and be with Eddie one moment or Beatrice the next. To actually feel that around you, I think that’s the reason why we’re all still doing it.
Have you noticed any differences in the audience reactions here versus in London?
People seem to enjoy it and be moved and laugh at the same things, although there’s much more of an immediate understanding of the local references. You definitely see all of us are getting braver as we’re going on and looking out at the audience a bit more. I’m finding the people on stage here hold your look and don’t turn away; it’s almost as if they’re having a conversation!
Miller plays seem to be more present than ever, with a revival of The Crucible coming to Broadway next spring—why do you think his plays are still so resonant?
We talk about it all the time as a company, why it’s so good to say the words, to act it, and why it seems so good for the people listening. It’s the quality of his writing. He shows something that’s Greek, but also the minutia of real, ordinary people, people that you really understand and recognize. That’s why you keep going back to him.
A View From the Bridge is playing at the Lyceum Theater until February 21, 2016.
Main image by Jan Versweyveld