Interview with Richard Beecham - Director (Broken Glass)
8 December 2017
What relevance do the themes in the play have today?
On one level, the play is a timeless exploration of a marriage in crisis, of two people unable to communicate or connect.
On another level, Miller uses this marital psychodrama as a vehicle to explore the themes of identity and difference. His male protagonist, Gellburg, is hugely conflicted about his Jewish identity in a predominantly non-Jewish world; he struggles with being ‘different’ and has internalised many of the anti-Semitic attitudes prevalent in the world around him. As a Jew himself, Miller is working out his own identity conflicts in this play and this seems to me to be especially resonant now at a time when identity politics and the place of minority cultures are in flux and reshaping the world around us.
What is it about Arthur Miller's writing that makes him so influential?
Miller is a hugely influential figure in world drama because he manages to bring the personal and political together in incredibly powerful stories of human struggle and survival. He tackles some of the great themes of modern time– the individual against the machine, the corrosive effects of Capitalism, the death of the American Dream – and he does so with enormous compassion, humanity and, of course, irresistible theatricality.
What makes directing on the Watford Palace Theatre’s stage unique?
I directed quite a few plays at Watford Palace early in my career including plays by Alan Ayckbourn, Tim Firth, Shelagh Delaney, Brian Friel and Noel Coward. I have such happy memories of my time spent at the Palace. It is such a beautiful theatre - a jewel-box auditorium with a perfect proscenium-arch stage. It is intimate enough for audiences to feel fully involved with the stories on stage, and yet it has enough grandeur and scale to create a sense of excitement and event which audiences crave. This will be my first time directing at Watford since the theatre was refurbished some years ago and I think it looks great.
Broken Glass runs at Watford Palace Theatre from Thu 1 -Sat 24 March 2018.