Jennings Stars as Speer in Edgar PremiereDate: 1 March 2000
A new play about Albert Speer will receive its world premiere at the National Theatre this spring, with Alex Jennings starring as the Nazi architect. The second play about the man to hit London recently - following Esther Vilar's Speer, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer, which ran last year at the Almeida - Albert Speer is the latest from David Edgar, based on Gitta Sereny's biography 'Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth' and directed by Trevor Nunn. It opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on 25 May 2000, following previews from 15 May.
Plucked from obscurity to be Adolf Hitler's favourite architect and later promoted to Minister of Armaments and War Production, Speer became the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany and the closest thing that the Fuhrer had to a friend. Having narrowly escaped hanging at the Nuremberg war crimes trial, Speer emerged from twenty years in Spandau prison, as he thought, a changed man. But even as he published his best-selling accounts of the Third Reich, the extent of his complicity in Nazi crimes returned to haunt him.
Edgar's panoramic adaptation of Sereny's definitive biography tells the epic story of a man whose devotion to Hitler blinded him to the worst atrocity of the twentieth century.
Edgar's extensive theatre work includes The Shape of the Table, Entertaining Strangers, Destiny, Maydays, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (which won a Tony Award) and Pentecost (for which he won the Evening Standard Award for Best New Play). Journalist and author Gitta Sereny's other books include Into That Darkness and Cries Unheard: The Story of Mary Bell.
Alex Jennings' many stage credits include The Recruiting Officer, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Wild Duck, Peer Gynt (for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor) and Too Clever By Half (for which he won the Critics' Circle Award for Best Actor and an Olivier for Best Comedy Performance).
RNT artistic director Trevor Nunn won a hat trick of Best Director awards this year - the Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Olivier - for his NT Ensemble productions of The Merchant of Venice and Summerfolk. Albert Speer will be designed by Ian MacNeil with lighting by Rick Fisher, music by Steven Edis and sound by Christopher Shutt.