Warcrime Inaugurates Theatre Underground CryptDate: 12 March 2003
David Williams' highly topical play Warcrime will receive its world premiere in London later this month, inaugurating a raw new theatre space which - in the style of The Venue, home of Taboo - has been formed out of a recently recovered church crypt. Initially booking for a four-week season, Warcrime will open on 26 March 2003 (following previews from 24 April) and continue until 19 April at "Theatre Underground" in the crypt of St Andrew's Church Holborn.
In a courtroom, a young waitress, killed by an off-course cluster bomb, is brought face to face with the pilot responsible for her death. When observing from this distance, do we really know anything about the lives of the people we are so quick to assess? Warcrime exposes the gaps between CNN and real lives, and confronts the absurdities and human costs of recent wars - and of those still to come.
In marketing materials for Warcrime, the show producers write about the production's timing: "On the eve of a war against Iraq rejected by the bulk of the UK population, Warcrime answers the call for theatre that faces up to the true cost of this war. Unbelievably at a time like this, the only opportunities in this country to see a dramatic portrayal of how real lives are affected by conflict are given by small-scale productions. Not in large theatres and not on television. A handful of shows are representing British theatre's part in a wider response from the arts in the UK. Warcrime is proud to be a part of this."
Williams' play was developed following a visit to the Serbian anti-Milosevic town of Nisch, which was bombed by the Americans during the Kosovo crisis. It was subsequently developed at London's Soho Theatre and the Young Vic. The play had a performed reading at The Pleasance as part of John Caird's Playing Soldiers season in May 2002.
The new full-scale production stars Penny Layden as the waitress, Gordana. Layden has recently starred in Hamlet at the Globe, The Tempest for the RSC, and The Magic Toyshop and Jane Eyre for Shared Experience. She's joined in the ten-strong Warcrime company by Robert Atiko, Caroline Lintott, Vickie Glass, Tim Block, Caroline Lena-Olsson, David Gyasi, Simon Annand, Dave Gibbons and Rosie Ifould. Design is by Nadia Lakhani.
Warcrime will be the first production staged at Theatre Underground. Until recently, the crypt of St Andrew's Church was filled with over 3,000 coffins as well as rubble left over from a fire bombing that occurred during the Second World War.
- by Terri Paddock