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Cast for Complicité's Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead announced

The show will begin performances in December

Kathryn Hunter and Tim McMullan
© Simon Annand, Dan Wooller

Venerated theatre company Complicité has revealed casting for the upcoming stage adaptation of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, the hit novel by Olga Tokarczuk.

Conceived and directed by artistic director and co-founder Simon McBurney, the show tells the story of Janina Duszejko in what is described by Time as "part murder mystery, part fairy tale."

The production is co-produced with Barbican London, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Bristol Old Vic, Comédie de Genève, Holland Festival, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, L'Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe, The Lowry, The National Theatre of Iceland, Oxford Playhouse, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Set to appear will be Kathryn Hunter (The Chairs) as the novel's central protagonist Duszejko. She is joined in an ensemble cast by Thomas Arnold, Johannes Flaschberger, Amanda Hadingue, Kiren Kebaili-Dwyer, Weronika Maria, Tim McMullan, César Sarachu, Sophie Steer and Alexander Uzoka. The company has said that casting is subject to change at some venues.

McBurney said today: "Olga Tokarczuk's savage, funny and madly beautiful Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is being brought to the stage by Complicité with a multi-national ensemble made up of long-term collaborators such as César Sarachu (Street of Crocodiles, Master and Margarita), Tim McMullan (Lucie Cabrol, Mnemonic, Master and Margarita), Johannes Flaschberger (Lucie Cabrol, Foe, Mnemonic, Measure for Measure and Master and Margarita) and a new generation of exceptional actors. We are particularly thrilled and delighted to announce that leading the company, in the role of protagonist Janina, is Kathryn Hunter.

"But we cannot, nor would we want to, avoid declaring that we are also making this piece in a time of deep mourning. Following the death of my comrade, compagnero and brother in arms Marcello Magni - co-founder of Complicité and Kathryn's beloved husband - Kathryn and I feel it is a profound, beautiful and healing act to come together to create a piece of theatre inspired by this witty, poignant and ferocious work."

The show begins at Theatre Royal Plymouth (1 to 3 December 2022) followed by a 3-week run at Bristol Old Vic (19 January to 11 February), and dates at Oxford Playhouse (1 to 4 March) ahead of a national opening - 20 March - at the Barbican, London (where it plays from 15 March to 1 April).

The production will then tour throughout 2023 with further UK dates at Nottingham Playhouse (4 to 8 April), Belgrade Theatre Coventry (19 to 22 April) and The Lowry (25 to 29 April) before international dates in May and June 2023.

The show has set and costume design by Rae Smith, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Christopher Shutt, video by Dick Straker, additional direction by Kirsty Housley, dramaturgy by Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook, design assistance by William Fricker, associate lighting by Lucía Sánchez Roldán and associate sound by Ella Walhstrӧm. The novel was translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.