Rudkin was inspired to write the piece when he worked as a Black Country fruit-picker in the late 1950s. Set during harvest time, the work portrays seasoned pickers mingling with inexperienced newcomers. However, when the weather and fruit both begin to turn sour, tensions inevitably begin to mount. The play's language and content brought it into conflict with the stage authorities, and partly led to the demise of the Lord Chamberlain's role as theatre censor.
The playwright's other offerings have included the Obie Award-wining Ashes, The Saxon Shore, Children Playing and The Triumph of Death. Rudkin has also worked as a film screenwriter, including Hardy's The Woodlanders, and as a composer and translator. Afore Night Come was first produced by the RSC in 1962.
Rufus Norris directs the production, which heralds a Young Vic initiative to launch young directors. The director of four projects in the Young Vic Studio, Norris has also worked alongside Stephen Daldry and David Hare. He runs the Wink Theatre Company, and directed David Eldridge's Time Out Award-winning Under the Blue Sky at the Royal Court.
Another Young Vic/RNT Studio venture lined up from 19 October 2001 is Andorra by Max Frisch. Last seen at the National Theatre in 1964, Andorra charts the rise of fascism throughout Europe, with a people forced to confront the sins of their past. Direction is by Gregory Thompson, with design from Francis O’Connor.
The cast for Afore Night Come includes Christoher Brand, Edward Clayton, Tim Harris and Zoe Dawson. The set is designed by Ian MacNeil, with costumes by Joan Wadge and lighting from Rick Fisher.
- by Gareth Thompson