It is announced today that the Tony Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated actor Sophie Okonedo will join Damian Lewis in a new production of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Directed by Ian Rickson, the production will play a strictly limited 12-week season at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket from 24 March to 24 June 2017.
A darkly comic and disturbing view on the collapse of familial relationships, Edward Albee’sThe Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? has all of Albee’s characteristically witty tones as well as being a deeply tragic portrayal of a married couple Martin and Stevie (Lewis and Okonedo) and their teenage son in crisis when the father embarks on an improbable and impossible love affair from which there is no return. Widely regarded as his late masterpiece, Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? is brought back to the London stage following Albee’s recent death.
SOPHIE OKONEDO OBE was born in London and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She has worked in a variety of media including film, television, theatre, and audio drama. Okonedo began her film career in 1991 in the British coming-of‐age drama Young Soul Rebel before appearing as Wachati Princess in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) and Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things (2002). She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Tatiana Rusesabagina in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, a Golden Globe nomination for the miniseries Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006) and BAFTA TV Award nominations for the drama series Criminal Justice (2009).
Okonedo made her Broadway debut in the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. In 2016 she received a second Tony nomination for her portrayal of Elizabeth Proctor in Ivo van Hove’s Broadway production of The Crucible which also starred Ben Whishaw, Saoirse Ronan and Ciarán Hinds.
Okonedo was last on the London stage in Jeremy Herrin’s Haunted Child at the Royal Court in 2011. Previous work at the Royal Court includes Katie Mitchell’s Nightsongs, I Just Dropped Off to See the Man, Been So Long and Women and Sisters. At the National Theatre Okonedo has appeared in Troilus and Cressida and Money, and has had roles in numerous productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company including Tamburlaine The Great, The Changeling, A Jovial Crew and The Odyssey.
Film work includes Hotel Rwanda; Tom Harper’s drama War Book; After Earth with Will Smith; The Secret Life of Bees alongside Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Dakota Fanning; Stormbreaker and Skin opposite Sam Neill and Alice Krige.
Most recently on television, Okonedo starred in Peter Moffat’s political thriller Undercover for the BBC opposite Adrian Lester and played Queen Margaret in BBC One series The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench and Phoebe Fox. Other television credits include the role of Winnie Mandela in the BBC drama Mrs. Mandela; Clocking Off; the Doctor Who episodes “The Beast Below” and “The Pandorica Opens”; BBC series Extraordinary Women; miniseries The Slap; Sky1’s Sinbad; BBC One’s Mayday; and The Escape Artist.
EDWARD ALBEE was born on 12th March 1928 and began writing plays 30 years later. His plays include The Zoo Story (1958), The Death of Bessie Smith (1959), The Sandbox (1959), The American Dream (1960), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62, Tony Award), Tiny Alice (1964), A Delicate Balance (1966, Pulitzer Prize; 1996, Tony Award), All Over (1971), Seascape (1974, Pulitzer Prize), Listening (1975), Counting the Ways (1975), The Lady from Dubuque (1977-78), The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981), Finding the Sun (1982), Marriage Play (1986-87), Three Tall Women (1991, Pulitzer Prize), Fragments (1993), The Play about the Baby (1997), The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2000, 2002 Tony Award), Occupant (2001), At Home at the Zoo: Act 1, Homelife. Act 2, The Zoo Story. (2004), and Me, Myself & I (2008). Mr. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980. In 1996 he received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. In 2005 he was awarded a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
DAMIAN LEWIS OBE won unanimous international acclaim for his role in Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama Homeland. Lewis starred as ‘Sergeant Nicholas Brody’ opposite Claire Danes and was awarded the 2013 Golden Globe for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series’ and a 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series’ among other accolades for his role. Most recently Lewis has starred in Showtime series Billions. With an expansive list of diverse film, theatre and television credits Damian Lewis has evolved into one of this generation’s most respected and sought-after actors.
Prior to his role in Homeland, Lewis first came to the attention of international audiences in 2001 with his Golden Globe-nominated performance in the award-winning HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Tom Hanks. He also starred as Soames Forsyte in the acclaimed British production of The Forsyte Saga and Charlie Crews in Life. In 2015 Lewis starred as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall opposite Mark Rylance in the BBC Two television miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker-Prize winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
Prior to American Buffalo in 2015, Lewis starred as Alceste in Martin Crimp’s 2009 adaptation of The Misanthrope opposite Keira Knightley. After training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Lewis joined the British theatre community and appeared in a number of plays between 1993-98, primarily as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. During that time, he starred as Laertes in Jonathan Kent’s Broadway production of Hamlet opposite Ralph Fiennes. In 2003, Lewis returned to the London stage opposite Helen McCrory in Five Gold Rings at the Almeida Theatre. In 2005 he starred in the National Theatre’s production of Ibsen’s Pillars of the Community.
In addition to his illustrious work on stage, Lewis has appeared on film in Julian Fellowes’ adaptation of Romeo and Juliet which starred Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld in the titular roles, The Sweeney, David Gordon Green’s Your Highness, and Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert opposite Nicole Kidman.
IAN RICKSON was the artistic director of the Royal Court from 1998 to 2006, where he directed Jerusalem (also West End at the Apollo Theatre), The Winterling, The Night Heron and Mojo (also Chicago), all by Jez Butterworth; Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen and This is a Chair by Caryl Churchill; Dublin Carol and The Weir by Conor McPherson (also Dublin, Chicago, West End and Broadway); The Seagull by Anton Chekhov (also Broadway); Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett; Alice Trilogy by Tom Murphy; The Sweetest Swing in Baseball by Rebecca Gilman; Fallout by Roy Williams; The Day I Stood Still by Kevin Elyot; The Lights by Howard Korder; Pale Horse and Some Voices by Joe Penhall; Ashes and Sand by Judy Upton; Killers by Adam Pernak; Sab by Michael Cook and Wildfire by Jonathan Harvey.
In the West End Rickson directed Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams in Old Times by Harold Pinter (Harold Pinter Theatre); Betrayal by Harold Pinter, also with Kristin Scott Thomas, and Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss in The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman (both Comedy Theatre); and at the National Theatre, Evening at the Talk House by Wallace Shawn and The Red Lion by Patrick Marber. Productions at the Young Vic include Hamlet starring Michael Sheen, Now We Are Here and in autumn 2016 Rickson will direct The Nest by Franz Xaver Kroetz in a new translation by Conor McPherson.
Work on screen includes Fallout by Roy Williams (Company Pictures for Channel 4) and Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett (BBC4) and on radio includes In Therapy with Susie Orbach (BBC Radio 4). Rickson also works with PJ Harvey and Kate Tempest on their music and poetry shows.