Oxford Premieres Fast Food Schlosser's AmericansDate: 4 August 2003
Oxford Stage will mount two new productions this autumn - the first major revival of John Arden's 1959 pacifist plea Serjeant Musgrave's Dance in nearly 20 years and the world premiere of Americans, the first play by Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser.
Serjeant Musgrave's Dance opens at Southampton's Nuffield Theatre on 24 September 2003 before continuing on a two-month tour, while Americans will have a limited season at London's Arcola Theatre from 28 October to 22 November 2003.
In Serjeant Musgrave's Dance, a group of army deserters led by the serjeant arrive in a cold, strike-torn northern mining town. The soldiers appear to be recruiting but in fact they have a much stranger mission. On the run from an unnecessary and brutal colonial war, the group have returned to seek reprisals from five foreigners murdered for killing a local soldier. In the serjeant's war-warped mind, this will reveal the madness of war.
The revival is directed by Sean Holmes and designed by Anthony Lamble with lighting by Simon Bennison. Following Southampton, it will visit Cheltenham, Greenwich, Exeter, Edinburgh, Oxford, Bury St Edmunds and York, where it concludes its schedule on 22 November 2003.
Also a historical drama with acutely modern implications, Americans is set in 1901 when US President McKinley is attending Buffalo's Pan-Exposition. A man comes forward to shake his hand and shoots him twice, making a turning point in American history, when the country broke free from tradition and started building an empire.
Eric Schlosser is an investigative journalist and author, best known in this country for his best-selling exposé books Reefer Madness and Fast Food Nation. The latter, which gives a no-holds-barred account of the American fast food industry, has sold more than 250,000 copies in the UK alone. Americans is Schlosser's first stage play. The premiere production is directed by Oxford Stage artistic director Dominic Dromgoole.
Cast details have not yet been announced for either production.
- by Terri Paddock