CUE & A: Scenes from a Marriage Star Tina Benko on Ingmar Bergman, Cigarette Costumes and Auditioning for a Horror Film

News   CUE & A: Scenes from a Marriage Star Tina Benko on Ingmar Bergman, Cigarette Costumes and Auditioning for a Horror Film
Tina Benko, who stars in Ivo van Hove's stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Tina Benko
Tina Benko

Stage work includes The Little Foxes, Restoration (NYTW), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theatre for a New Audience), Tales From Red Vienna (MTC), Jackie (Womens Project), Rough Sketch ( 59E59), Desdemona (Paris, London, Italy, Amsterdam) and Whaddabloodclott!! (Williamstown).

She has appeared on screen in "That Awkward Moment," "Contest," "The Avengers," “Flesh and Bone," "Unforgettable,” “Royal Pains” and “Brotherhood.”

Tina Benko

Where you were born/where you were raised:
Pittsburgh, PA

Zodiac Sign:

Something you're REALLY bad at:

If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
I’d like to see The Norman Conquests marathon again. That was a joyful exuberant experience.

Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "
Losing My Mind," "Being Alive," "At the Ballet"

Some favorite modern playwrights:
Sheila Callaghan, Julie Marie Myatt, Carson Krietzer, Matthew Paul Olmos, George F. Walker

Your personal acting idols, living or dead:
Gena Rowlands, Barbara Stanwyck, Carole Lombard, Cate Blanchett

MAC or PC?
I am not tech savvy. I prefer a pen and paper.

Most played song on your iPod:
Bjork’s "5 Years" and Jeff Buckley’s "Lover You Should Have Come Over" (Scenes From a Marriage prep songs)

Last book you read:
"Bergman on Bergman"

Must-see TV show(s):
Turner Classic Movies

Some films you consider classics:
"A Woman Under the Influence," "Husbands," "Jules and Jim," "8 1/2," "Band of Outsiders," "Raising Arizona," "My Man Godfrey"

Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Kathryn Hunter

Favorite Halloween costume you ever wore:
My dad made me a pack of Winston Cigarettes costume out of a refrigerator box. It was a big hit at the Catholic School costume promenade.

Favorite pre-/post-show meal:
Sweet potatoes with cinnamon

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I do a little warm-up/ritual in the theatre before they open the house. Then I walk through the aisles and sit in the last row. It reminds me to take the story there.

Worst costume ever:
A canary yellow polyester stretchy fabric jumpsuit that had a hood which could be Velcro-ed over the face. This allowed for minimal sight, but the Romanian directors wanted the actors to become an anonymous commedia chorus clump that may bump into each other, drop props, or fall down.

Best costume ever:
Titania in Julie Taymor’s Midsummer. Constance Hoffman’s sublime and challenging costume made me feel like a fairy queen – sculpted and soft, romantic and strange, armor and amour. Exquisite.

Craziest audition story:
For an indie horror film. The director: "The demon enters your soul, he starts to take over and then you speak in tongues and the rains come. Drenched and screaming, you struggle with him- who is yourself- but he wins and the life goes out of you, and then slide down the wall and die. Okay, whenever you're ready.” (No, I didn't book it)

What drew you to this project?
Ivo. Bergman. Mann. Yes.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show?
Ivo is inspiring, witty, and brutally honest. Jan Versweyveld’s voyeuristic set is fantastic. Playing simultaneous scenes is thrilling. This entire cast is delicious. It’s a ferocious production and these actors vitalize me and leave me in awe every night.

Most challenging role you have played onstage:
Jackie in Jackie by Elfriede Jelinek. But Scenes From a Marriage might take the cake.

Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
Would love to do a screwball comedy

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