Hollywood's Willem Dafoe (pictured) will star in To You, The Birdie, based on Racine's Phedre, which runs at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith this month from 9 to 23 May 2002 as part of this year's London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT).

The production is by world-renowned American company, The Wooster Group, last seen in London in 1993 with Brace Up!, based on Chekhov's Three Sisters. The Group, founded in 1974, is made up of an ensemble of actors including Dafoe.

In a New York run earlier this year, fellow Wooster member and Hollywood star Frances McDormand (Fargo, Almost Famous) co-starred with Dafoe in To You, The Birdie. It was hoped that she would also accompany the production for its limited London season, ahead of visits to Istanbul and Brussels, but McDormand will not be appearing.

To You, The Birdie is billed as a soap opera of windows and reflections, confessions and confrontations set in a mobile modernist landscape of aluminium tracks, sliding plexiglass panels, omnipresent monitors and hidden cameras. The project explores private moments thrust into the public spotlight of a gymnasium world of exhibitionism and voyeurism.

Though he regularly returns to the stage with The Wooster Group, Dafoe is best known internationally for his many films including The English Patient,Tom and Viv, Body of Evidence, White Sands, Born on the Fourth of July, Mississippi Burning, The Last Temptation of Christ and Platoon.

To You, The Birdie is directed by The Wooster Group's Elizabeth LeCompte and designed by Jim Findlay with original music by David Linton.

- by Terri Paddock