London's Royal Court announce final West End seasonDate: 23 December 1998
With their Sloane Square base nearing the completion of its complete refurbishment, London's Royal Court Theatre have announced their final season for one of the West End addresses they have been using in in the interim as a replacement for their studio Theatre Upstairs space.
Five new plays will be performed at the Ambassadors Theatre in West Street, utilising two performing areas: the Stage Space and the Circle Space.
The season begins with a play by 33-year-old American writer Rebeccca Gilman, The Glory of Living. The play, first performed in Illinois in December 1996, has already won three awards including the American Theatre Critics Assocation Osborn Award. Set amongst the sprawling trailer park detritus of America's southern states, the play tells the story of two characters, Lisa and Clint, who gete their kicks through a variety of twisted and increasingly dangerous means. The playwright, born and raised in Alabama, currently works as a secretary at KPMG Accountants in order to support her writing. Her latest play, Spinning into Butter, is due to premiere at Chicago's Goodman Studio Theatre early in the New Year. The Royal Court's production of The Glory of Living, which will be directed by Kathryn Hunter (the award-winning actress turned director whose Almeida production of Brecht's Mr Puntila and his Man Matti is currently being revived at the West End's Albery Theatre), runs from January 14 to February 6.
Next, another leading British actor turned director, Richard Wilson, will stage a new play by Richard Bean, making his Royal Court playwrighting debut with Wonderloaf. Set in a bakery in the Northern town of Hull, where seven men come together each night to achieve the common puropose of baking enough bread to feed the town, the play shows how the introduction of one human spanner in its highly tuned works might just accelerate its disintegration and with it the lives of the men themselves. Wonderloaf runs from February 12 to March 6.
Roy Williams, whose previous plays include No Boys Cricket Club (seen at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East) and Starstruck (seen at the Tricycle Theatre), will also make his Royal Court debut with Lift Off. The play, in which bitter prejudices come to the fore when Mal breaks the unspoken laws at the heart of his lifelong friendship with Tone, will be directed by Indhu Rubasingham, who also staged Williams's two earlier plays. It runs from February 19 to March 13.
Gary Mitchell, whose In a Little World of Our Own was seen at the Donmar Warehouse, will see his latest play, Trust, premiered in a production directed by Mick Gordon, artistic director of Notting Hill's Gate Theatre. The play, commissioned by the Royal National Theatre Studio, concerns the testing of convictions to the extreme. When someone is given the role of guardian of the community and deos everything possible to protect it, that person discovers they have neglected the most important thing of all - their own family. Trust runs from March 11 to April 3.
Finally, actor turned writer Mick Mahoney makes his Royal Court debut with Sacred Heart, in which two former friends are reunited after some twenty years to discover that even time cannot their bitter wounds. The play runs from March 27 to April 24.
The box office is now open for all the above productions. Phone 011-44-171-565 5000.
In other Royal Court news, its current Broadway-bound production of Conor McPherson's The Weir is booking at the The Duke of York's Theatre in the West End to February 27, 1999 and will simultaneously embark on a major UK tour, commencing on February 10 at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds and continuing to Bath, Coventry, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, Malvern, Liverpool, Sheffield and Poole.
By Mark Shenton