Grandage will direct two new productions, both of which will reunite him with playwrights he’s had Donmar successes with in recent years: Patrick Marber and David Eldridge. The season will also see the return of actor Ian McDiarmid, taking the title role in Eldridge’s new version of John Gabriel Borkman, and a revival of David Mamet’s The Cryptogram.
The new season kicks off, from 17 October to 25 November 2006 (previews from 12 October), with The Cryptogram, directed by Josie Rourke, whose previous credits at the Donmar, where she trained, include Frame 312 and World Music. In Mamet’s elliptical 1995 play about the end of childhood, John is afraid to fall asleep because he doesn’t understand what’s happening or why his father hasn’t returned home.
It’s followed, from 6 December 2006 to 10 February 2007 (previews from 30 November), by Grandage’s world premiere production of Don Juan in Soho, Patrick Marber’s 21st-century take on Molière’s 1665 classic. The infamous amoral hedonist of the title and his antics are relocated to modern-day Soho where the broken and brazen, hustlers and hoorays all pack in to one seething square mile. Grandage and Marber had a hit with After Miss Julie (after Strindberg’s Miss Julie) in 2004. Marber’s other plays include Dealer’s Choice, Howard Katz and, most famously, Closer, which Mike Nichols made into a 2004 film starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman.
Don Juan in Soho runs back-to-back with Grandage’s next Donmar production, David Eldridge’s new version of Ibsen's penultimate play John Gabriel Borkman, running 20 February to 14 April 2007 (previews from 15 February). Grandage and Eldridge scored with a new version of another Ibsen, 1884’s The Wild Duck, earlier this year. John Gabriel Borkman features another Donmar returnee, Ian McDiarmid, in the title role. Grandage directed McDiarmid in Pirandello’s Henry IV at the Donmar two years ago. Earlier this month on Broadway (See News, 12 Jun 2006), McDiarmid won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for the Gate Theatre, Dublin production of Faith Healer.
Written in 1896, John Gabriel Borkman paints a devastating picture of capitalist ambition. Disgraced and destitute following a fraud scandal and imprisonment, Borkman paces alone in an upstairs room. Downstairs, his family are trapped in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a household bound for explosion. Eldridge’s other credits include Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness, M.A.D., Summer Begins, the Whatsonstage.com Award-winning Festen and Market Boy, which received its world premiere this month at the National.
Presently at the Donmar, Thea Sharrock’s revival of John Mortimer’s A Voyage Round My Father, starring Derek Jacobi, continues until 5 August 2006, after which Michael Grandage directs the world premiere of TV writer Peter Morgan’s debut stage play Frost/Nixon, starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella. Running from 15 August to 7 October 2006 (previews from 10 August), Frost/Nixon concludes the Donmar’s current 2005/6 season (See News, 6 Dec 2006).
- by Terri Paddock