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RSC Transfers Spanish Golden Age to Playhouse

By • West End
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 19 Nov 2004), the Royal Shakespeare Company will transfer three out of its four Spanish Golden Age season plays to the West End in the new year. The Dog in the Manger, House of Desires and Pedro, The Great Pretender - all seen in Stratford and Newcastle earlier this year - will run in repertory at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre, with their original ensemble companies, from 1 February to 26 March 2005 (following previews from 21 January, exact date to be confirmed).

The newly announced transfers mean that the RSC will be simultaneously represented at three London theatres. In addition to the Playhouse, Soho Theatre will house the London premieres of Zinnie Harris’ Midwinter and Joanna Laurens’ Poor Beck, along with journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s one-woman testimony Nowhere to Belong: Tales of an Extravagant Stranger, all seen this past September at the RSC’s first-ever New Work Festival in Stratford (See News, 28 Sep 2004); and, at the West End’s Albery Theatre, the season of this year’s four Tragedies, followed by Hecuba starring Vanessa Redgrave, continues until May (See News, 15 Jul 2004).

The Dog in the Manger kicks off the Playhouse schedule on 1 February 2005. Lope de Vega's 1613 social comedy about a countess who compromises her honour has been newly translated by David Johnston and is directed by RSC associate director Laurence Boswell, who has curated the season.

It’s followed on 2 February 2005 by House of Desires, which is written by poet nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, one of the few female playwrights of the age, and translated by Bryony Lavery. The romantic farce, involving a brother and sister entangled in a web of love with four others, is directed by Nancy Meckler.

The final Playhouse production will be Mike Alfreds’ production of Miguel de Cervantes’ Pedro, The Great Pretender, opening on 17 February 2005. The new version of the play, by Philip Osment, revolves around a lovable trickster whose journey leads him to find his true vocation on the stage. The fourth play from the original Spanish Golden Age season at Stratford, Tirso de Molina’s Tamar's Revenge, directed by Simon Usher, will not accompany the others to London.

Currently running at the Playhouse is the Young Vic’s Romeo and Juliet, care of Reykjavik trapeze troupe Artbox/Vesturport. Following its sell-out run at the Young Vic last year, it opened on 18 November 2004 (previews from 13 November) and had been booking up to 5 March 2005. No closing date has yet been announced.

- by Terri Paddock


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