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NT's Chain Play 25th Opens with Cleo Johnson

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The Royal National Theatre has commissioned 25 playwrights to create an NT25 Chain Play as part of its 25th Anniversary celebrations. Intended to highlight the venue's varied literary profiles, the initial scene of the play is now available for public perusal.

The featured authors include Alan Bennett, Kevin Elyot, Lee Hall, Zinnie Harris, Charlotte Jones, Patrick Marber, Joe Penhall and Philip Ridley. The completed work will be presented at the National Olivier on 26 October 2001. Scene One is set in a villa somewhere in southern Europe. Alex, a man in his late forties, and twentysomething Josie appear at the outset. Alex is bemoaning the fact that their villa now looks over a recently finished apartment which he feels sure has been bought by a tasteless English person.

A clue to the identity of the first author has been given in that he 'created something of a carry on at the National a few years ago'. This would seem to indicate that Terry Johnson, creator of Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick, has offered up the aforementioned opening. Throughout October, the play's progress will be charted on the NT's website, and is expected to receive one performance only. The project was designed by the NT to 'mark the literary achievements of the past quarter of the century and to celebrate the playwright's skill and dexterity under extremely challenging circumstances'.

- by Gareth Thompson


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