Buckland Theatre Company makes its West End debut with William Gibson’s Two for the Seesaw next month at Trafalgar Studios 2. This 1958 comedy-drama has a fascinating, and stellar, stage to screen history. Gen up below – and then get booking!
In the 1950s-set Two for the Seesaw, to escape an unhappy marriage, brooding lawyer Jerry relocates from Nebraska to New York City where he meets Gittel, a beatnik dancer from the Bronx whose life is drifting after a number of failed relationships.
Despite their very different backgrounds and personalities, this unlikely couple embark on a bittersweet and tempestuous love affair that forces them to confront, with heartfelt honesty, the very nature of who they are and what they want from love and life.
Two for the Seesaw premiered at Broadway’s Booth Theatre in 1958 when Henry Fonda and then-newcomer Anne Bancroft starred as Jerry and Gittel. In 1962, it was adapted into a Hollywood film, which was originally slated to star Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, but the latter had to pull out as her filming on Cleopatra overran and the former went on to work on The Hustler.
Instead, Robert Mitchum and Shirley Maclaine took on the roles of Jerry and Gittel and, in real life, commenced a relationship which lasted until Mitchum’s death in 1997. The film also featuring a renowned score by composer and conductor Andre Previn, which included the song “Second Chance”, which became a pop and jazz standard recorded by various artists including Ella Fitzgerald.
Two for the Seesaw marked the Broadway debut for its author William Gibson, who went on to chronicle his experiences on the production in the memoir The Seesaw Log.
Onstage, Gibson followed up with what became his most famous play, 1959’s The Miracle Worker, which also starred Anne Bancroft. He won the Tony Award for Best Play for the drama about the childhood of American deaf-blind author and activist Helen Keller and later adapted it as an Oscar-winning film in 1962.
Gibson’s other stage credits included Dinny and the Witches, A Mass for the Dead, A Cry of Players, Golda’s Balcony and the book for the musical version of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy, for which he was also Tony-nominated.
This brand-new production of Gibson’s Two for the Seesaw stars Charles Dorfman and Elsie Bennett as Jerry and Gittel. It’s directed by Gary Condes and marks the West End debut for Buckland Theatre company, building on the success of previous acclaimed runs at London’s Park Theatre for Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s), Murray Schisgal’s LUV and Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One, which also starred Dorfman.
Two for the Seesaw runs from 12 July to 4 August 2018 at London’s Trafalgar Studios 2, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY. Performances are Monday to Saturdays at 7.45pm, with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are priced £20-£25, with previews from 12-16 July just £10-15. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Check out the evocative opening sequence of the 1962 film version ofTwo for the Seesaw with Andre Previn‘s music and Robert Mitchum‘s Jerry roaming the streets of New York.