Beverly Rudd stars in the the UK première of Anna Bella Eema by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour, which is opening at The Arcola Theatre this month.
Lisa D’Amour’s wildly inventive, spoken-and-sung odyssey makes its UK premiere in a new and updated version, with original score by Chris Sidorfsky. Anna Bella Eeema is at The Arcola Theatre 11th September to 12th October 2019.
You’re starring in Anna Bella Eema which is coming to the Arcola, what can you tell us about it?
Anna Bella Eema is a play about change, relationships and friendships – particularly about how different people cope with change, and how it can be understood as positive or negative, especially when it comes to the mother/daughter dynamic. The play is also quite magical and strange, and the style of the piece is very unusual. It confronts in the most unexpected of ways how we as a society perhaps respond in a negative way to people who are different to us. Anna Bella Eema will open your eyes to how we aren’t really that different from one another. Ultimately, we are animals, and our animal instincts will kick in – be those maternal instincts, or our immediate reactions to threat.
How would you describe your character?
Irene is a character who is terrified of change. Despite the challenges this brings to bear on her, she remains a highly intelligent, avid storyteller.
It’s been updated for its UK premiere, what’s the most exciting change that’s been made?
The challenge of this production is the most exciting aspect for me – all the things that I find terrifying and difficult are why I took on the job. Anna Bella Eema presents three women on chairs, for almost the entire show; the writing itself is exciting and strange; our characters all have American accents – it is the challenge that each of these aspects presents that drew me to the production, and excited me.
What makes the music so special in this production?
None of the music in Anna Bella Eema is accompanied – it’s all acapella. Natasha Cottriall and Gabrielle Brooks have fantastic voices and the harmonies we have worked on with Tom Foskett-Barnes are really interesting. It’s a very different sound to anything most people will be expecting, and indeed will have ever heard before.
What are you enjoying most about being part of an all female cast?
Being part of an all-female cast, particularly in a play which centres around a strong mother/daughter bond and a young woman coming of age, has been an empowering experience. We all click incredibly well as a cast and it’s amazing that the world of the arts has opened up to become more female led. It has also been great to play the strong character in Anna Bella Eema – the older character – which is something I have never done before.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Anna Bella Eema?
I hope anyone thinking of coming to see Anna Bella Eema is willing to learn something. The play is challenging, difficult and at some points, it is not a comfortable watch – but come along ready to enjoy the ride. The play is also full of wonderful storytelling – at times we are speaking directly to the audience, which is something they might not have experienced before, but is incredibly exciting. It will hopefully make you think about how to address a situation differently when you leave the theatre. Most of all, I hope people are entertained by our play – that they really run with the quirkiness and weirdness of the piece!
Anna Bella Eeema, starring Beverly Rudd is at The Arcola Theatre 11th September to 12th October 2019.