Schiff stars in – and is also co-producing - Glen Berger’s play, which has had several incarnations in the US since it premiered Off-Broadway in 2001. The production transferring to London in the New Year was first seen at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey, this past January.
Inspired by Yiddish music from the 1920s, Underneath the Lintel centres on a Danish librarian whose search for 113-year overdue book sets him on a life-changing quest. One clue builds upon another as this once-staid man embarks on a journey that spans the globe – the result of which carries mystical and spiritual implications.
At the play’s launch this morning, which was held at Hedges and Butler in Regent Street, Schiff told Whatsonstage.com what drew him to the piece, and why he thinks London audiences would enjoy it: “There are different themes for different people. What I found in New Jersey was that people were standing talking about it in the lobby afterwards and they all noticed something different.
“I think my mannerisms and the way I am in day to day life is different from the character, but as an actor there is always a part of you in the characters you play – your acting has to come from within. I just thought it was an incredible play and it compelled me to read it again and again and again, and I hope the audiences will find it intriguing too.”
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Underneath the Lintel is directed by Maria Mileaf. It’s presented in the West End by Michael Edwards and Carole Winter with Paul Coxwell. Currently at the Duchess, Stones in His Pockets will finish its aborted run this weekend, on 2 December 2006 (See News, 14 Nov 2006).
- by Caroline Ansdell