Rhinehart-inspired The Dice House Rolls into ArtsDate: 23 December 2003
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 12 Dec 2003), Birmingham Stage Company’s production of Paul Lucas' The Dice House will transfer to the West End in the new year. It opens for a limited season at the Arts Theatre on 10 February 2004 (previews from 4 February).
Lucas’ play unfolds in a commune run by maverick psychiatrist Dr Ratner, who encourages the patients to surrender all their decisions to the roll of the dice. When Ratner’s rival Dr Drabble hurls one of his own patients into the clinic to kidnap his inmate-wife, a comic romp of Pythonesque proportions ensues.
The Dice House is inspired by Luke Rhinehart’s cult 1971 novel The Dice Man. It premiered at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre in June 2001, when comedian and author Tony Hawks starred, and was revived in 2002 at London's fringe Old Red Lion theatre and at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Described by Time Out as “the most fashionable novel of the early 1970s”, The Dice Man has been continually in print for more than 20 years. A major TV documentary, Diceworld, was created about Rhinehart and aired on Channel 4 in 1999.
Discussing Lucas’ stage play, Rhinehart has previously said, “For years, people have been adapting The Dice Man into other forms. Often I have been disappointed with the results, lamenting that the adapter so completely failed to see the absurdity of dice-living. Paul’s play is a joyous exception. It is a wonderful marriage of his great comic talent and the absurd material of my otherwise serious book. The theory of dice-living is that we all sadly settle for one personality and one set of values, when we could flow from one role to another, unconcerned about the contradictions involved.”
In a unique West End pricing strategy, theatregoers will have the choice of buying set-priced tickets or rolling six dice to determine how much they pay under the “Dice Price”. Rhinehart himself will fly in to roll the dice with audience members during the first week’s performances.
The Dice House is directed by Graeme Messer and presented in the West End by Dice House Productions by arrangement with Birmingham Stage Company and John Newman for Newpalm Productions, the Old Red Lion and Peter Wolff. Casting has yet to be announced.
- by Terri Paddock