Hampstead Stages Illuminated Novel, New FaustusDate: 19 July 2006
Hampstead Theatre’s autumn/winter season includes two world premieres and one London premiere, as well as an acclaimed family show for Christmas.
In the main house, the world premiere of Everything Is Illuminated, adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel by Simon Block and directed by Rachel O'Riordan, opens on 19 September 2006 (previews from 14 September) for a run to 14 October 2006. A young Jewish New Yorker has arrived in the Ukraine to find and thank the woman who saved his grandfather during the Second World War. With only a faded photo and the name of a village that doesn’t exist on the map, he embarks on his quest assisted by an enthusiastic young translator with a unique grasp of English, an old driver who is selectively blind and deaf and a somewhat deranged dog.
Following Everything Is Illuminated, Oxford Stage Company’s production of Faustus, modernised from Christopher Marlowe’s original, receives its London premiere at Hampstead. In medieval Germany, John Faustus embraces the dark arts; in 21st-century Hoxton, contemporary artists Jake and Dinos Chapman prepare a controversial and provocative new work. As Faustus seals his pact with the devil so the Chapman brothers prepare to “rectify” a priceless set of etchings and all are forced to confront the power of the irrevocable act. Faustus runs from 24 October to 18 November 2006 (previews from 20 October), directed by OSC’s artistic director Rupert Goold (See News, 21 Jul 2005).
The final in-house production in the main house for 2006 will be the world premiere of Ryan Craig’s The Glass Room, directed by Anthony Clark, from 28 November to 23 December 2006 (previews from 23 November). In a police safe house in a leafy London suburb, young Jewish human rights lawyer Myles is charmed by the notorious historian he has been hired to defend. But the sinister nature of the historian’s crimes soon become clear, sending him into an ethical and emotional collision with his own identity.
The Little Angel Theatre’s light-hearted puppet show The Mouse Queen moves in for a Christmas season from 7 December 2006 to 6 January 2007. The family show is based on a number of Aesop’s fables, including The Mouse Queen, in which a tiny mouse named Tilly wanders into the jungle and meets Leonard the Lion. Together they learn lessons of mutual respect and dependence.
Downstairs in the theatre’s smaller Michael Frayn Space, Locked In, a new hip-hop drama written by Fin Kennedy (winner of the Arts Council’s 2006 John Whiting Award) and directed by Angela Michaels, runs at from 6 to 10 November 2006. In an abandoned tower block, Blaze and Riqi rip up the airwaves on a leading pirate radio station. When Zahida comes into their lives, cracks begin to appear in their friendship and when a local gangster asks Blaze for a serious favour, suddenly there’s a choice to be made that could split their world wide open.
Since moving into its new building just over three years ago, Hampstead Theatre has staged the London premieres of 32 new plays. Over 160,000 people have seen its productions, two of which (Losing Louis and What the Butler Saw) have gone on to transfer to the West End and five of which have toured nationally.
- by Caroline Ansdell