Less than two weeks to go before the premiere of The Ungrateful Biped, a modern take on Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground. Sneak a peek behind the scenes with our rehearsals photo gallery as actor Rupert Graves prepares to make his directorial debut with the piece, written and performed by his long-time friend Philip Goodhew – and then get booking!
Fyodor Dostoyevsky created the underground Man in 1864. In doing so, he created one of the most paradoxical, self-lacerating and mesmerising characters in literature; the first existentialist anti-hero. Goodhew has relocated the story and the misanthropic character – with whom he’s always “identified strongly (which is quite an admission)”! – to London today.
Question: “what does a civilised man drivel on about with most satisfaction?” Answer: “himself”.
Immured in a horrid basement flat in the hinterlands of London, an anonymous Man creates a video blog. Haunted by disturbing memories and nurturing an abiding malice towards all humanity, including himself, he embarks on a forensic analysis of his “underground soul”.
Sick, spiteful, and ugly, yet convinced of his own genius, he is tormented by the belief that his intelligence is a disease which, in an irrational world, renders him less valuable than an insect. Bitter, alienated and crippled with inertia, the Man shamelessly revels in the depths of degradation he has plumbed in order to validate his existence and demands the right to screw up his life as he sees fit. After all, is he really any different to the rest of us?
For more on the inspiration for the piece and Graves and Goodhew’s collaboration, plus a great Financial Times feature on the return of the actor-director for which Graves was interviewed, click here.
The Ungrateful Biped runs at the White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Road, London, SE11 from Tuesday 30 January to Saturday 17 February 2018, with a press night on 2 February. Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 7pm, with tickets priced £16 (concessions £12). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE.