Daniels Stars in Donmar's Hollywood TalesDate: 4 April 2001
Olivier Award winner Ben Daniels stars in the Donmar Warehouse's revival of Christopher Hampton's Tales from Hollywood . The play about exiled German artists opens at the Donmar on 1 May and continues to 23 June 2001 (previews from 19 April).
Odon Von Horvath, a German Hungarian writer feted in the 1930s but now largely forgotten, died an absurdist death in Paris 1938, when the branch of a tree fell on his head. One of the last lines he wrote was "A poet emigrates to America..." In Tales from Hollywood, Hampton causes the tree to fell someone else, allowing Von Horvath to follow his own story to California where a series of dreamlike and decadent tales unfold. Los Angeles is a surreal landscape where some of Europe's greatest artistic talents, finding themselves in poverty, schlep their genius around the Warners and the Mayers, negotiating the world through pidgin English and bad screenplays.
The play was originally mounted in 1983 at the National, winning its star, Michael Gambon, an Olivier nomination. In this Donmar production, another award winner, Ben Daniels - who scooped both this year's Olivier and the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the National's All My Sons - will play the narrator, Von Horvath.
The cast also features Phil Davis (as Bertolt Brecht), Gawn Grainger (Thomas Mann), Richard Johnson (Heinrich Mann), Lizzy McInnerny (Nellie Mann) and Emma Cunniffe (Helen Schwartz). The supporting cast includes Ian Butcher, David Hounslow, Nancy McClean, Yvonne Riley, Ken Samuels and Sira Stampe.
Christopher Hampton is one of the UK's most successful playwrights. His original stage work includes Total Eclipse, The Philanthropist, Savages and Treats while amongst his many hit adaptations are Art, The Unexpected Man, Enemy of the People and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
Tales from Hollywood is directed by Donmar associate director John Crowley whose previous productions include Juno and the Paycock, How I Learned to Drive and Into the Woods. The production is designed by Scott Pask, with lighting by Howard Harrison, sound by Paul Arditti and music by Paddy Cuneen.
- by Terri Paddock