Lindsay Duncan and Hilton McRae reveal the full depths of The Dance of Death’s ambiguity in production that is funny and strangely touching. Directed by the Arcola’s own Mehmet Ergen, the couple – married in real life – interact with a naturalness that takes the edge off their barbed attacks on one another, even as they push one another further and further and, almost, over the edge.
August Strindberg’s The Dance Of Death from 1900 has been credited with prefiguring the works of Beckett, Ionesco, Pinter and most notably provided a template for Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? However, in its latest incarnation at the Arcola in Hackney, which is the culmination of a tour started in May, I was forcibly reminded of the dynamic evoked by Noel Coward’s Private Lives – but with far fewer laughs.
Back in April, part of Theatre Royal Stratford East’s response to the pandemic was to create a new type of project. They put out a call to key workers in the local community to share their stories via a video wall. Out of some of these writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz and director Nadia Fall have created a series of imagined monologues which have been filmed as No Masks.
London’s Arcola Theatre has announced its 2020 season, a special, year-long programme to celebrate the theatre’s 20th anniversary featuring familiar faces from the venue’s first two decades alongside exciting newcomers.
Tanika Gupta’s superb reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s modern classic A Doll’s House is both entertaining and deep.
Award-winning actress, TV and film actress Alex Kingston will take on the lead of Dr Stockmann in An Enemy of the People from 13 to 28 September 2019 (press night is 17 September) as part of Nottingham Playhouse’s autumn season.
As someone who makes a living championing theatre, one of the things that really delights me about the grass-roots activism sprouting up all around me in our increasingly illiberal age of Trump and Brexit is how much of it is being driven by theatre colleagues.
I’m well overdue for a theatre diary, aren’t I? So here goes with a quick one on more new plays I’ve seen in recent (and not-so recent) weeks that I’d recommend catching and haven’t yet managed to squeeze in to separate blogs.
Random and topical thoughts and quotes gathered by My Theatre Mates contributor Aleks Sierz, first published on www.sierz.co.uk.
Banned at Ipswich School for Girls last year for ‘inappropriate language’, Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new play, Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern is certainly not the profanity-ridden, immoral cesspool the school made it out to be. Quite the opposite, really. With a cast of characters who are predominately female, this new play reads more like a GCSE English set text that’s a British version of The Crucible.
A fierce bleak play, this. Set in 1712 but, taking the wider world as it is, not un-topical: hangings, tortures, religion turned into a sour power-trip. Here are superstitious dreads and demonization of anyone different, whether homosexual, eccentric or just female.
Tonight should have been the night that Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new Out of Joint play Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern, inspired by the last woman in England to be charged with witchcraft in the 18th century, visited the Ipswich High School for Girls as part of its rural touring in East Anglia and Essex.
Experts debate the issues raised around the premiere of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s The Invisible, about the dismantlement of legal aid in the UK, at the Bush Theatre – and have got me thinking more on the matter too.
Since I got back from my month of remote working in Mallorca, I’ve been lucky enough to pack in lots of trips to the theatre, including this quintuplet of limited season plays that are all worth a look. As usual, I’ve listed productions in closing date order, and the first on the list finishes this Saturday, so don’t delay if you want to see it…
“When I was growing up the poor were seen as unfortunates. Now they’re seen as manipulative. Grasping. Scroungers. It’s very sad.” So reflects Shaun (Niall Buggy), a charming, penniless old Irishman with more than a touch of the blarney, facing yet another Kafka-esque nightmare negotiating with the sullen, unyielding bosom of our Housing and Benefits systems in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s The Invisible. On the day of the Budget, when the latest plans for supposedly solving society’s biggest problems have been touted across every media channel, it’s always tempting for pub philosophers and armchair politicians to make sweeping judgements and dangerously inhumane generalisations; we all have our private theories of blame and retribution for the taxpayer’s burden. The Invisible reminds us that, inside those synthetic statistics, thousands of real individuals – vulnerable, defenceless and alone – uniquely suffer the consequences of each government’s so-called solutions. If the problems they encounter are legal ones, recourse to free help is now dwindling fast, thanks to swingeing cuts to our Justice sector meted out by Grayling and Gove. Hence, these victims become The Invisible: the poorest and weakest in our society, whose voice can quietly stopped by lack of representation or, simply, despair.