Daisy Boulton shares with The Pickwyck her training at RADA, the tremendous touring production of A View From The Bridge and her personal tastes in books and plays.
Where did you grow up and how did you get started in theater?
- “I grew up in Sussex and London and I got involved in theater pretty quickly, the minute I could get on a stage in school.”
What is your earliest memory of theater or first show?
- “It was Cats the Musical in the West End on my 8th birthday. It just was completely magical. I thought, “I have to do this!”
You started theater from a really early age but you also write music, where did that come from and did you start at an early age too?
- “Yes, I remember very vividly when I wrote my first song. I was 11 years old and I had left from school where I was training as a ballet dancer, I didn’t want to do it anymore and I was quite unhappy at the time. I had always written poetry and it wasn’t quite enough, so I ended up writing music to this poem that I had written. I needed some kind of way of expressing myself at that time and I found that through writing songs and singing. It was apart of my growing up and making sense of myself. “
What is your favorite movie, book, play?
- “My favorite book right now is Essays In Love by Alain de Botton. I love everything that he writes; I think he’s amazing. The Outsider by Albert Camus is another one of my favorite books. Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’. I love the movie “Requiem for a Dream”. Othello and Antony and Cleopatra are my favorite Shakespeare plays. I love Chekov, I am reading the Three Sisters. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen because I love getting in the world of that time. Also, Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, which Mark Rylance starred in.”
You were trained at RADA. Did you have any teachers or instruction that engaged you or made you perceive something differently in the craft you were learning?
- “I did a show at the Almeida before I went to RADA; that was really good because it gave me the opportunity to work out what I needed to get out of my training. I genuinely had the best three years of my life there. The most important thing I learned was how to use my voice properly. My voice teachers Robert Price and Helen Strange had a huge impact on me in that way. I’m so glad I met Sebastian Harcombe, who was our head of acting. He educated me on what kind of an actor I was. He understood what I was doing and I didn’t understand it at the time so to have someone who cares that much and I could learn from and trust was really amazing to have at that time."
Is there any advice that you carry with you or that has stuck with you, throughout your schooling and career?
- “Trust and listen to your gut. You come up against situations and choices and all sorts of things and I’ve found listening to my gut has guided me in the right way, and to keep my feet on the ground and be the actor I want to be, that’s the best advice I’ve had.”
The tour for this production recently started, how has the journey been so far?
- “It’s been amazing. We’ve done Nottingham Theatre Royal and now we’re at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre. I really love it. It’s amazing already to change the theater every week. It’s such an amazing opportunity as a young actor, technically as well as everything else, to be a different theater every week. Opening night at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham was pretty amazing actually. I was backstage, the theatre seats around 1000 people, and I had that moment backstage where I thought, ‘I’m fulfilling a childhood dream, I’m doing this.’ It was a special moment and I’ll definitely remember it.”
This play is written by the legendary Arthur Miller, had you read it before you got the part?
- “Yes, I read it and had seen it. I saw it in the West End with Hayley Atwell and Ken Stott and it just blew me away. I did know it so it was one of those, “Oh my god, Wow! A View from the Bridge…I definitely want to audition for that.”
Arthur Miller is an American playwright who writes a lot about the American dream and similar themes. This play takes place in Brooklyn. How is this play interpreted for and received by an English audience?
- “To be honest, I don’t know and I would be interested to know that. Arthur Miller is such an amazing playwright, his writing transcends beyond a time period, culture, stage. This play couldn’t be written about anywhere but in Brooklyn for that story to happen. A View From The Bridge touches everybody in a universal way because of the brave things Miller is saying about humanity.”
During the course of preparing for your role was there anything you learned about your character Catherine that made you change the way you portrayed her?
- “When I saw it in the West End, I didn’t really think about the desperation because of their economic situation, being that they are working class people. The minute we got into the rehearsal room the director, Stephen Unwin, made that a really important point. That was something I’m still working on, to serve and get my head around. The stakes just get higher when you think of how tough their world is.”
There’s a quote from this play said by Alfieri about Eddie “His eyes were like tunnels; my first thought was that he had committed a crime, but soon I saw it was only a passion that had moved into his body, like a stranger.” What is your take on this quote? What are your perceptions of the relationships in this play and how do you work those out on stage every night?
- “Arthur Miller is writing about humans who are brave enough like Eddie to be, as Alfieri says at the end of the play, "wholly known". I think its something that we would like as humans to spend all our time trying to run away from. That passion running through him is so faint, animalistic and fundamental. I think everybody can connect to that. Everybody has struggled to suppress those kind of feelings. Arthur Miller is writing about someone who can’t. The relationship between Catherine and Eddie has been so interesting for me. Catherine is transitioning from being a girl into a woman; what that means and what that means with regards to her relationship with Eddie. She’s an orphan, she has nothing and he didn’t have to do what he has done for her. Without him the world is very uncertain. When she meets Rodolpho and realizes she has to make this transition, I, Daisy, really identify with that because I have a very close relationship with my dad, I owe him everything. He has sacrificed so much for me. As I was saying before, the stakes are so much higher because they are working class. I think the kind of guilt and responsibility she has is huge."
11. How has it been working with this principal group of actors so far?
- “It’s been a dream come true. Teresa Banham and Jonathan Guy Lewis who play my Aunt and Uncle are such amazing actors. The moment we started rehearsals, the depth of this writing they were delivering it so quickly and it was amazing to watch. To be in the scene with them and rise up with them has been a real privilege and has pushed me as an actress. In a chemistry way, as a family, me, Johnny and Terry, we really get on and we care for each other. It’s a complete joy every performance exploring that family dynamic. James Rastall and Philip Cairns are just lovely guys, so talented. I think it’s been cast very well! I’m not talking about myself, but those around me. Michael Brandon is literally the real deal; he is Brooklyn! As Stephen Unwin often said in rehearsal, “No acting required”. He tells the story with such an understanding, as a kind of narrator, joining the audience to the actors. That final speech is so moving, he moves me to tears every night.”
Why should people come watch this production?
- “I think people should come and see it because it’s an amazing story. It’s genuinely one of the best plays ever written. We are a group of actors, helmed under Stephen Unwin, helping create a story that we are all incredibly moved and touched by. I feel that’s what we are doing every night, and hope we are relaying that to our audience.”