Nigel Harman is to head a first class creative team when he directs a major West End season of Steven Berkoff one-act plays, Lunch and The Bow of Ulysses at Trafalgar Studios for five weeks from Thursday 6 October to Saturday 5 November 2016. Press Night is Monday 10 October at 7.00pm. Cast is to be announced.
Lunch (1983) and its sequel The Bow of Ulysses (2002) are two of Berkoff’s finest small pieces, examining the relationship between a couple when they first meet and have, what appears to be, an abortive one-night-stand; and how they are years later after two decades of marriage.
The creative team includes Olivier Award-nominated sound designers Ben & Max Ringham, designer Lee Newby (Grand Hotel, Dogfight), lighting designer Joshua Carr (Hangmen, West End) and Offie Award Best Choreographer Alistair David as movement director.
Nigel Harman said:
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity of working on two of Steven Berkoff’s rarely performed short plays, When I first read them I was struck by the caustic beauty of the writing. Berkoff manages to amuse, horrify and move all in one sentence. And his instinct for the human condition, with all it’s flaws and wonders, is unique. I’m intrigued to put these plays on stage and see how an audience will react. They are a challenge to watch. Some people will laugh and enjoy the theatricality of them. Others may find them uncomfortable in the way they hold a dark mirror up to relationships. One thing’s for sure, they don’t pull any punches.”
As director, Nigel is currently under the umbrella of The Michael Grandage Company. He is working on bringing a musical over from Broadway with ATG, and also creating a new theatre piece with Neal Street Productions. His previous directing credits include Shrek The Musical (UK tour). Nigel is also widely known as an actor having won an Olivier and several Television Awards. Theatre work includes, I Can’t Sing, A Chorus of Disapproval, Shrek The Musical, Guys And Dolls,Three Days Of Rain, The Caretaker, Privates On Parade. Television includes: Downton Abbey, Mount Pleasant, Miss Marple, Eastenders, Larkrise To Candleford, Hotel Babylon, The Outsiders, Plus One. Films: Blood Diamond, Telstar.
Producer Jimmy Jewell said: “Berkoff‘s plays are always physically demanding for the actors involved. In Lunch and The Bow of Ulyses, intentional vulgarity sits cheek by jowl with passages of poetic clarity, allowing the characters to reveal the most painful and ugly aspects of their lives. Lunch is a black comedy of errors that is as universal as it is bizarrely peculiar. It is a psychological and sexual struggle for power. Berkoff’s writing is astounding in its unrelenting physicality. Yet it skips from Shakespearian verbosity, allusion and surprising imagery to tiptoeing indecision. The Bow Of Ulysses avoids any hint at conversation, with each character speaking in long soliloquies, before passing the baton to the other. The man feels he has wasted years married to the woman, she believes he’d have been nothing without her support. The truth, as truth always is, is more complicated and the sides switch around and explore one another, without ever touching in conversation. This is a rare opportunity to see two of Berkoff’s finest small pieces.”