LaBute, Bean & Poulton Link Almeida Chain Play IIDate: 3 January 2008
Following the success of the Almeida’s inaugural Chain Play last year (See Photos, 27 Mar 2007), the theatre is reviving the idea for a second year. As part of the fundraising event, a variety of playwrights connected to the Islington venue contribute short scenes to a single overall play. The writers confirmed to participate in Chain Play II are Americans Neil LaBute and Stephen Adly Guirgis as well as Britons Richard Bean, Abi Morgan, Mike Poulton and Tanya Ronder.
During a three-month process, the playwrights are each given two weeks to write a 10-15 minute scene before handing over to the next writer in the chain. The resulting play will be staged under the direction of Indhu Rubasingham for a one-night only performance on 29 February 2008.
The National Theatre has also tested out their own “chain play” idea as part of their 25th anniversary celebrations in 2001, when 25 playwrights – including three of the Almeida’s first Chain Play participants, Moira Buffini, Charlotte Jones and Frank McGuinness, along with Sebastian Barry, Simon Block, Nick Dear, Kevin Elyot, Tanika Gupta, Lee Hall, Zinnie Harris, Jonathan Harvey, Terry Johnson, David Lan, Patrick Marber, Stephen Sondheim, Shelagh Stephenson and Colin Teevan – each contributed to the piece (See News, 22 Oct 2001).
All six writers taking part in Chain Play II have recently had work produced or programmed at the Almeida, or are otherwise connected with the building. Adly Guirgis' The Last Days of Judas Iscariot will receive its UK premiere at the theatre in March (See News, 30 Oct 2007); Bean’s version of Moliere’s The Hypochondriac ran in 2005; LaBute has had several plays staged at the Almeida including bash and The Distance from Here; Morgan has a commission which will be seen next year; Poulton’s new version of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm opens in May; and Ronder’s new version of Lorca’s Blood Wedding played in 2005.
For the Almeida, Indhu Rubasingham has previously directed Another America: Fire, an opera presented as part of the PUSH04 Season at the theatre. Her many other credits - at the Royal Court, Tricycle, National and elsewhere - include Free Outgoing, Fabulation, Starstruck, Yellowman, Sugar Mummies, Lift Off, Clubland and The Waiting Room.
Tickets for Chain Play II cost £150 and can be booked via the Development Department at the Almeida on 020 7359 4404.
- by Tom Atkins