Royal Court Comes Home with McPhersonDate: 1 October 1999
London's Royal Court Theatre, which has spent the last three years in self-imposed exile from its Sloane Square headquarters while the two theatres it occupies there have been completely refurbished, returns home in January.
Artistic director Ian Rickson, who took over the artistic directorship of the theatre from Stephen Daldry during that time, has announced a programme that includes new plays by Conor McPherson, Jim Cartwright and Martin Crimp in the main house.
Rickson himself will stage the opening production, Conor McPherson's new play Dublin Carol, starring Brian Cox, opening on January 12 (following previews from January 7) and running to February 26. The play is the story of an alcoholic man whose estranged daughter offers him a final chance for redemption. Rickson previously directed the hit Royal Court production of McPherson's The Weir, still running in the West End at the The Duke of York's and on Broadway at the Walter Kerr (to November 28). Brian Cox previously starred in McPherson's one-man show, St Nicholas, at London's Bush Theatre and subsequently at Off-Broadway's Primary Stages. The latter also produced another McPherson play, The Lime Tree Bower, which ran until August 15 this year.
Dublin Carol will be followed by a new play by Jim Cartwright, Hard Fruit. Described as a tale of overt aggression, repressed sexuality and hidden lives in a depressed northern town, it runs from March 16 to April 22. Cartwright's first play Road was originally seen at the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs in 1986; his other most celebrated work, perhaps, is The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, first seen at the Royal National Theatre and subsequently in the West End with Jane Horrocks (who also starred in the film version), and in a different production briefly played on Broadway. The director is James Macdonald, the Royal Court's Associate Director.
Next, Katie Mitchell directs the premiere of the latest play by Martin Crimp, The Country, running from May 4 to June 17. The fifth of Crimp's plays to appear at the Royal Court, the new play is described as a chilling, suggestive chamber piece, unravelling games of sexual poliltics, power and class, to reveal the darker side of 'idyllic' rural life. Crimp is also well known for his adaptations of Moliere's The Misanthrope (recently seen at New York's CSC, with Uma Thurman) and Marivaux's The Triumph of Love (recently produced at London's Almeida Theatre). Katie Mitchell is currently working at London's Royal National Theatre, staging a two part adaptation of Aeschylus's The Oresteia that is now previewing at the Cottesloe and opening on December 1.
In the Theatre Upstairs, new plays will be presented by Kia Corthron (Breath, Boom, from January 11), Gary Mitchell (The Force of Change, from February 11), and Christopher Shinn (Other People, from March 10).