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English Language Premier Illusions Doubles with Kane's Crave in New Tour

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Actors’ Touring Company hit the road this spring with a rare revival of Sarah Kane’s modern classic Crave and the English language premier of Illusions by Russia’s foremost contemporary playwright and screenwriter, Ivan Viripaev.

Demonstrating his commitment to producing actor led ensemble theatre, artistic director Ramin Gray presents the two plays in rep with the same cast of actors.

The tour comes straight after the company became the first ever UK theatre organisation to perform in Kurdistan with their acclaimed production of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s The Golden Dragon and coincides with their Young Vic co-production of the stage adaptation of Jung Chang’s Wild Swans. Crave and Illusions are poetic studies of the human heart, of the ambiguity of relationships and the fragility of the individuals who inhabit them.

When Crave was first performed in 1998, Sarah Kane used the pseudonym of Marie Kelvedon. By that time her work had developed a reputation for on-stage violence but Crave was seen as a departure from this. The poetic quality of the work eschews narrative and setting and presents disconnected meditations on love and yearning. Crave is about what life does to people. Four performers embody the competing voices of a mind in torment and ecstasy, embittered, dismayed and often bewildered by an existence over which they have no control. The production is the first major revival in ten years of a contemporary classic, a ground-breaking work that challenges the very notion of what makes a play.

Love and death, loyalty and betrayal, truth and fiction, hope and despair, Illusions is a ‘beguiling’ comedy that takes the audience through a hall of mirrors. The work playfully unravels the paradoxes of the lives and loves of two couples as they look back at their lives. It tells a tale of roads taken and those passed by, of understandings and misunderstandings and of the dangers of voicing certain thoughts and leaving others unsaid.

Ivan Viripaev, has won several major awards for his work including the prestigious Golden Mask and the Presidential Council Prize for Literature in Russia and awards at the Venice, Warsaw and Sochi Film Festivals. Illusions is his first work to be staged in the UK. The company for both plays comprises Derbhle Crotty, Cazimir Liske (who also translated Illusions) and Rona Morrison.

Bristol Old Vic at the Wickham Studio, University of Bristol 24-28 April


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