Don Juan was written in 1665, whilst Moliere's Tartuffe was still banned by Paris theatres. A widely reworked character for the stage, Don Juan defies convention and morality whilst ignoring all warnings to mend his sinful ways. He intimidates family and servants before turning his attentions on an abandoned wife, whose saintly demeanour provokes him to even greater lust.
Tom Hollander has previously appeared in Tartuffe, and his other stage credits include The Government Inspector (Almeida Theatre). His began his acting career with the Cambridge Footlights troupe, before making his way in various ‘baddies’ roles on stage. Conversely, his film works have included the romantic dramas Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence and Ben Elton’s Maybe Baby.
Hollander’s co-stars include Lucy Briers - daughter of Richard Briers, with whom she appeared on stage in Simon Day’s Spike. She also played Mary Bennet in the screen adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Other cast members include Robert East, Anthony O’Donnell and Gideon Turner.
Director Michael Grandage is Associate director at the Crucible. He has recently won critical acclaim and numerous awards, including several Oliviers, for his productions of Merrily We Roll Along and Passion Play at the Donmar Warehouse as well as the Sheffield Crucible/Lyric Hammersmith co-production of As You Like It. In March 2002 he will direct Kenneth Branagh in a Crucible offering of Shakespeare’s Richard III.
The French writer Jean-Baptiste Poquelin changed his name to Moliere to spare his parents’ shame at having an actor son. He opened his theatre career on stage, but later began writing full-scale works for performance. French classical comedy was changed considerably by his plays such as The Misanthrope, The Miser and The School For Husbands, and dramatists worldwide have cited him as an influence.
Don Juan is designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting from Hartley TA Kemp and music by Julian Philips. The translation is courtesy of Simon Nye, whose TV writing credits include Men Behaving Badly and The Savages.
- by Gareth Thompson