Simon Stephens and Juliet Stevenson create a perfectly beautiful and haunting installation for our times in The Blindness at the Donmar Warehouse.
Random and topical thoughts and quotes gathered by My Theatre Mates contributor Aleks Sierz, first published on www.sierz.co.uk.
Neil Bartlett presents an updated version of Albert Camus’ story of living through crisis and fighting despair. But what have critics been saying about it?
With the horror of Syria fresh on us, and Africa’s travails with Ebola still haunting, this sombre, unforgettable treatment of Albert Camus’ LA PESTE feels urgently present. Neil Bartlett has pared down the novel’s characters to five – the central Dr Rieux played with remarkable balanced strength by Sara Powell.
As Brecht also observed tellingly at the end of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, 1941, shortly being revived at the Donmar, things come round again. Just when you think humans may have learnt something from history, off we go again.
In the unnamed town that the five characters inhabit, any hope or joy is promptly quashed and left in a pool of despair on the floor, just like the mysteriously dying rats that plague the streets. It’s not a fun evening, but nonetheless makes for a formidable and incredibly disquieting piece of theatre.
There is an appealing simplicity to the narrative of Camus’s 1947 novel: originally set in Oran, in French Algerian, the book tells the story of a devastating infection that starts off slowly but eventually leads to social and economic crisis as the city gates are closed and its people become prisoners.
London’s Arcola Theatre has announced another overtly political programme for its new 2017 spring/summer season, including Neil Bartlett’s new adaptation of Camus’ The Plague and a new production of Richard III starring Greg Hicks.