Award-Winning Davies Directs Gorky's VassaDate: 2 December 1998
Howard Davies - winner of the Best Director accolade at this week's Evening Standard Theatre Awards for the Almeida production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, starring Kevin Spacey - is back with the Almeida in the new year with Maxim Gorky's Vassa. The play, in a new version by Peter Gill, will open at the Albery Theatre, the Almeida's residence in the West End, on 20 January (with previews from 14 January) and will run until 27 March 1999.
Vassa, written in 1909, is a comic portrait of a powerful matriarch, a woman of iron will, who sees her family destroyed by the very values that she seeks to preserve. Vassa was last seen in London when Katie Mitchell directed a production at the Gate Theatre, and in 1985, Janet Suzman played the title role at Greenwich Theatre, directed by Helena Kaut-Howson.
Sheila Hancock plays Vassa in the Almeida production. She is joined by Anne-Marie Duff as Lyudmilla, Ron Cook as Prokhor, Christine Entwistle as Lipa, Debra Gillett as Natalya, Richard O'Callaghan as Mikhail, Aisling O'Sullivan as Anna, Adrian Scarborough as Semyon and David Tennant as Pavel.
Howard Davies' other work for the Almeida includes Edward Albee's The Play about the Baby and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Alexander Dumas' The Tower. At the National, he has directed David Hare's The Secret Rapture, Arnold Wesker's Chips with Everything and Mikhail Bulgakov's Flight, for which he was also commended at the Evening Standard Awards. On Broadway, Davies' work includes the RSC production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the RNT production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Davies is an associate director of the Almeida Theatre.
Peter Gill's adaptations include As I Lay Dying and
Currently playing at the Almeida at the Albery is the Racine double bill of Phedre and Britannicus, starring Dame Diana Rigg. The plays finish their repertory 12 December before transferring to Broadway. Davies is also heading back to Broadway. He will recreate The Iceman Cometh there with Spacey again headlining the cast. The play is due to open at New York's on 8 April 1999.