NT Premieres Rogers' Blood & Handspring Kiss
Date: 2 July 2010
The National Theatre has announced further details of its autumn 2010 season. Highlights include the premiere of JT Rogers' Blood and Gifts, directed by Howard Davies with a cast led by Lloyd Owen; a new collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company entitled Or You Could Kiss Me; and Josie Rourke's revival of Ena Lamont Stewart's Men Should Weep in the Lyttelton.
The National will also premiere a new play by Michael Lesslie, Prince of Denmark, for audiences aged ten and above. The play is a teenage retelling of Hamlet, which will play in the NT Olivier on 7 October 2010 (previews from 30 September) starring Rory Kinnear. Further casting for that production was also announced today.
In the Lyttelton
NT associate director Howard Davies (All My Sons) will direct JT Rogers' Blood and Gifts, which opens in the NT Lyttelton on 14 September (previews from 7 September). The play, Rogers' second for the National after The Overwhelming (2006), is billed as an "epic political thriller shot through with mad humour that sweeps from refugee camps to mountainous tribal regions to the corridors of power in Washington DC". The action is set in 1981, as the Soviet army burns its way through Afghanistan and toward the critical Pakistani border.
The cast includes: Lloyd Owen, Matthew Marsh, Philip Arditti, Danny Ashok, Nick Barber, Kammy Darweish, Ian Drysdale, Robert Gilbert, Mark Healy, Adam James, Simon Kunz, Gerald Kyd, Katie Lightfoot, Jessica Regan and Nabil Stuart. The production will be designed by Ultz, with lighting by Paul Anderson, music by Marc Teitler and sound by Paul Arditti.
It will be joined in rep, from 26 October (previews from 18 October), by Ena Lamont Stewart's 1947 play Men Should Weep, directed by Bush artistic director Josie Rourke, marking her NT debut. Voted one of the top hundred plays of the 20th century in the NT2000 millenium poll, it centres on the large and impoverished Morrison family living in 1930s Glasgow.
Tough and tender Maggie (Sharon Small), just about holds together her unruly brood against wretched poverty. But sniping neighbours, the flight of daughter Jenny, and the unexpected return to their overcrowded quarters of Maggie’s son and his sexually restless wife erode her spirit. And then, just as temporary employment for beloved husband John affords a decent Christmas, wayward Jenny returns with new-found wealth, offering them the chance of escape and one big moral dilemma.
In the Cottesloe
A futuristic new play written and directed by Neil Bartlett and Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse), entitled Or You Could Kiss Me, opens in the NT Cottesloe on 5 October (previews from 28 September).
In the winter of 2036, in a shabby apartment in Port Elizabeth, two old men search for a way to say goodbye after a lifetime spent together. In the perfect summer of 1971, in a very different South Africa, their handsome younger selves search for the courage to fall in love. And poised halfway between these two stories - one imagined, one remembered - their real-life counterparts bear witness to both the beginning and ending of an incredible journey.
Desgined by Rae Smith (War Horse), with puppet design by Adrian Kohler and music by Marcus Tilt, the cast comprises: Adjoa Andoh, Finn Caldwell, Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler, Craig Leo, Tommy Luther and Mervyn Millar.
From 14-26 October, the Cottesloe's daytime slot will be filled by Prince of Denmark, a new play by Michael Lesslie (Swimming with Sharks) that reimagines Hamlet for a company of teenagers.
With actors drawn from the National Youth Theatre and a technical team from local further education colleges, the play is set a decade before the action in Shakespeare's, where the teenage Hamlet, Ophelia and Laertes rage against the roles handed down by their parents. Anthony Banks directs.
In the Olivier
Further casting has been announced for NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner's production of Hamlet, which stars Rory Kinnear and opens in the Olivier on 7 October (previews from 30 September).
The cast features: Clare Higgins (Gertrude), Patrick Malahide (Claudius), Ruth Negga (Ophelia), David Calder (Polonius), James Laurenson (Ghost/Player King), Matthew Barker, Jake Fairbrother, Ferdinand Kingsley, Alex Lanipekun, James Pearse, Saskia Portway, Victor Power, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Nick Sampson, Michael Sheldon, Leo Staar, Zara Tempest-Walters, Giles Terera and Ellie Turner.
Hamlet follows Michael Grandage's production of Georg Bűchner's Danton's Death, in a new version by Howard Brenton that stars Toby Stephens in the title role, which opens on 22 July (previews from 15 July). It will run in rep with the transfer of Tony-winning musical Fela!, which opens on 16 November 2010.
The National also announced today that Peter Bennett-Jones, chairman of the Tiger Aspect Group, has been appointed to the Board.
- by Theo Bosanquet
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