In Caligula, Sheen will be joined by Jason Hughes (who co-starred with title performer in his last London stage appearance, Look Back in Anger at the NT in 1999, and who's also been seen on stage in Kiss Me Like You Mean It, In Flame and Real Classy Affair and, notably, on screen in This Life), Raymond Coulthard (most recently seen in The Coast of Utopia and The Relapse at the National) and Diana Kent (An Inspector Calls, Les Liaisons Dangereuses), as well as Jeff Diamond, Bernard Gallagher, Olivia Macdonald, Ben Turner and Jerome Willis.
Newly translated from the French by David Greig, Caligula tells the story of a charismatic leader given absolute freedom to challenge social convention in pursuit of personal obsession. Following the death of his sister, Emperor Caligula deserts the Roman Assembly for three days and nights, then returns with a single objective: to understand the meaning of life.
Caligula runs at London's Donmar Warehouse from 30 April to 14 June 2003 (previews from 24 April). The production is designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Neil Austin. It's directed by recently arrived Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage, who opened his inaugural season in December with Noel Coward's The Vortex, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Francesca Annis, partner to Ralph Fiennes.
With Brand, Fiennes himself returns to the RSC for the first time since 1990, to take the title role in Ibsen's 1866 drama - about an uncompromising priest who finds his high principles at odds with the rest of society - in the final production by the soon-to-be-departed RSC artistic director Adrian Noble. The play runs at Stratford's Swan Theatre for six weeks from 17 April to 24 May 2003, before transferring to the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket for 14 weeks from 4 June to 30 August 2003 (previews from 29 May).
Fiennes will be joined in the Brand cast by a collection of RSC and National veterans including Oliver Cotton (Life x 3, Summerfolk, Troilus and Cressida at the National, last year's Twelfth Night at Shakespeare's Globe), Susan Engel (An Inspector Calls, Angels in America for the National, After the Gods, A Clandestine Marriage, Spinning into Butter) and Alan David (Hamlet, A Prisoner's Dilemma for the RSC) as well as Jim Creighton, Sarah Everard, Jane Guernier, Colin Haigh, Sidney Livingstone, Jennifer McEvoy, Alistair Petrie, Claire Price, Laura Rees, Clifford Rose and Karen Traynor.
Brand is designed by Peter Mckintosh and lit by Peter Mumford. It's produced by the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket and Stanhope Productions in association with the RSC. After 12 years at the helm, Noble hands over the RSC directorship to successor Michael Boyd at the end of this month (See News, 25 Jul 2002).
- by Terri Paddock