Cillian Murphy will star in Wayward Productions’ inaugural production, Enda Walsh’s adaptation of Max Porter’s award-winning novel Grief is the Thing with Feathers, playing at the Barbican Theatre from 25 March to 13 April 2019 (press night is 28 March). Walsh also directs, reuniting him with Murphy, following the huge success of their past collaborations: Disco Pigs, Ballyturk and Misterman.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers is a moving story of a widower and his young sons which becomes a profound meditation on love, loss and living. The London will transfer to St Ann’s Warehouse in New York following the London run.
In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair, they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him.
Wayward Productions’ Judith Dimant said today: “It’s a real privilege to have worked with Enda and Cillian on Max Porter’s beautiful book. I had no idea how it would come to life – but it most certainly has. And it’s a dream that it should mark the start of my new company, Wayward Productions.”
Max Porter added:
“Working with Enda, Cillian and the whole team on the adaptation of Grief was one of the most revelatory and rewarding experiences of my life. I think they’ve made a genuinely extraordinary piece of theatre, something radical and unforgettable. For it to be coming ‘home’ to London, where the book is set, and where the book was written, means a lot to me. The Barbican theatre is the perfect space for Crow. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Also in the creative team are composer Teho Teardo, designer Jamie Vartan, costume designer Christina Cunningham, lighting designer Adam Silverman, sound designer Helen Atkinson and video designer Will Duke.
Cillian Murphy first made his mark on stage and established a longstanding relationship with writer Enda Walsh with an explosive performance in Disco Pigs. Following critically-acclaimed, sold-out runs in Ireland, their most recent collaboration, Ballyturk, ran at the National Theatre in London. Murphy also starred in Walsh’s monologue Misterman (2012 Drama Desk Award, The Irish Times Irish Theatre Award) and Kristen Sheridan’s filmed adaptation of Disco Pigs.
In 2006, Murphy made his West End debut at the New Ambassador Theatre in John Kolvenbach’s Love Song, directed by John Crowley. His stage collaborations with Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes include The Country Boy, Juno and the Paycock, and The Playboy of the Western World at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. Murphy also starred as Konstantin in the Edinburgh Fest production of The Seagull directed by Peter Stein, as Adam in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things at the Gate Theatre in Dublin and as Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing at Kilkenny Castle.
On screen, Murphy most recently co-starred in Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking World War II epic Dunkirk, Sally Potter’s The Party and Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire. His upcoming projects include Luc Besson’s Anna and Mark O’Rowe’s The Delinquent Season. For television, Murphy most recently returned as protagonist Tommy Shelby in Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders.