A dissident is locked up in an asylum. If he accepts that he was ill, has been treated and is now cured, he will be released. He refuses. Sharing his cell is a real lunatic who believes himself to be surrounded by an orchestra. As the dissident’s son begs his father to free himself with a lie, the play asks if denying the truth is a price worth paying for liberty.
Punchdrunk’s Felix Barrett and NT associate director Tom Morris, who has since been appointed as artistic director of Bristol Old Vic, helm the co-production with Southbank Sinfonia orchestra. Toby Jones and Joseph Millson (pictured) starred as Ivanov and Alexander this past January. No casting has yet been confirmed for the 2010 dates.
In the NT Cottesloe, dates and casting have now been announced for Hanif Kureishi’s new adaptation of his own 1995 novel The Black Album. The co-production with Tara Arts, directed by Tara artistic director Jatinder Verma, will run in the NT rep from 21 July to 7 October 2009 (previews from 14 July), before embarking on a six-week regional tour.
Jonathan Bonnici plays young British-Asian Shahid, an anxious young undergraduate who becomes involved in an increasingly fundamentalist Muslim activist group during the Thatcher years in London. He’s joined in the cast by Alexander Andreou, Jonathan Bonnici, Tanya Franks, Sean Gallagher, Beruce Khan, Nitin Kundra, Shereen Martineau, Robert Mountford and Glyn Pritchard.
Hanif Kureishi’s last play at the National, Sleep With Me, was ten years ago; more recently, his When the Night Begins premiered at Hampstead in 2004. The author’s best-known works include The Buddha of Suburbia, London Kills Me and My Beautiful Launderette.
Following the National, The Black Album visits Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford, Warwick and Bath, where the tour concludes on 28 November 2009.
In other NT programming news announced today, artistic director Nicholas Hytner’s production of Phedre, starring Helen Mirren has been extended until 27 August in the NT Lyttelton rep. And in the £10 Travelex Season in the NT Olivier, Richard Bean’s new play England People Very Nice will continue until 9 August, and Marianne Elliott’s upcoming production of All's Well That Ends Well is booking until 30 September. Sunday performances in both the NT Olivier and Lyttelton resume from 9 July.
- by Terri Paddock