Almeida Season to Feature Duet for One, Parlour Song, Measure for Measure

News   Almeida Season to Feature Duet for One, Parlour Song, Measure for Measure
 
London's Almeida Theatre has announced a slate of new productions for 2009-2010: The new year will kick off with a revival of Tom Kempinski's 1980 play Duet for One, which will co-star Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman.

The theatre will also feature the European premieres of Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song, originally seen at New York's Atlantic Theatre Company earlier this year, and Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling, originally premiered at the Adelaide Festival of Arts. The theatre will also offer the world premieres of Christopher Hampton's new version of Ödön von Horváth's Judgment Day and Samuel Adamson's A Quiet Island, and new productions of Patrick Hamilton's Rope and Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

Duet for One originally premiered at the Bush Theatre in 1980 and subsequently transferred to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre. Performances will begin at the Almeida Jan. 22, 2009, prior to an official opening Jan. 29, for a run to March 14, 2009. The play revolves around a celebrated concert violinist, Stephanie Abrahams (to be played by Stevenson), who is forced to rethink her career and her life after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She consults psychiatrist Dr. Feldmann (Goodman), whose probing questions delve deep into her complex personality. For the first time, she is forced to consider a future without music.

Stevenson, who is making her Almeida debut, was last seen on stage at the National Theatre as Arkadina in The Seagull. Other theatre credits include Alice Trilogy, The Country and Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (winning the Oliver Award for Best Actress). Goodman returns to the Almeida, where he was last seen as Argan in Moliere's The Hypochondriac. His other recent theatre credits include Teyve in Fiddler on the Roof for Sheffield Theatres, subsequently transferring to the Savoy, Performances at Wilton's Music Hall, The Exonerated for Riverside Studios, The Birthday Party at the Duchess and the title role in Richard III for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Duet for One will be directed by Matthew Lloyd, artistic director of the Actors Centre, who was previously an artistic director at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre (where he directed An Experiment with an Air-Pump and Waiting for Godot), as well as associate director at Hampstead Theatre, where he directed The Fastest Clock in the Universe, Slavs! and The Lucky Ones.

Ian Rickson, currently represented on Broadway by his production of The Seagull, will direct the European premiere of Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song, which begins performances March 19, 2009, prior to an official opening March 26, for a run to May 9. Rickson previously directed the premieres of Butterworth's The Winterling, The Night Heron and Mojo at the Royal Court, where he was artistic director from 1998 to 2007. Parlour Song is described in press materials as a comedy "that explores what happens when two ordinary people discover they hate who they have become, in a world where all is not what is seems." It revolves around a married couple Ned and Joy; he is a demolition expert, she is a housewife. They live in a house that adjoins neighbor Dale and 78 other houses just like theirs. Occasionally they enjoy a game of scrabble. But Ned has a recurring dream and a recurring problem; things keep disappearing. Casting is yet to be announced. Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough will direct the European premiere of Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling, which begins performances May 14, 2009, prior to an official opening May 21, for a run to July 4. Described in press materials as "an epic play spanning four generations and two continents," the action moves from the claustrophobia of a 1950's London flat to the windswept coast of Southern Australia and into the heart of the Australian desert to weave together a series of interconnected stories. Seven people confront the mysteries of the past in order to understand their future, revealing how patterns of betrayal, love and abandonment are passed on, until finally, well into the future, as the desert is inundated with rain, one young man finds the courage to defy the legacy. Bovell's Speaking in Tongues was first premiered in Sydney in 1996 and was subsequently produced at London's Hampstead Theatre and New York's Roundabout Theatre Company. His film "Lantana," adapted from a stage play, won numerous awards including the London Critics' Circle Best Screenplay Award, and he also co-wrote the original screenplay of "Strictly Ballroom" with Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce.

James Macdonald, who previously directed The Triumph of Love for the Almeida, will return to direct the world premiere of Christopher Hampton's new version of Ödön von Horváth's Judgment Day, which begins performances Sept. 4, 2009 prior to an official opening on Sept. 10, for a run to Oct. 17. Hampton previously provided a version of Yasmina Reza's Conversations After a Burial for the Almeida in 2001; he has also collaborated with Reza on English versions of her plays Art and God of Carnage. He has previously adapted von Horváth's Tales from the Vienna Woods, Faith Hope and Charity and Don Juan Comes Back from the War and in his own play, Tales from Hollywood, von Horváth features as a major character. Written and set in 1937 in a small village in Austria, diligent station master Thomas Hudetz is a well-respected member of his local community, until the charms of flirtatious young Anna distract him momentarily from the operation of the signals. There are no survivors from Express Train 405. The small town seeks a culprit, but it seems only Anna knows the truth about the conscientious station master. Maconald's other recent directorial credits include Manhattan Theatre Club's revival of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls and the premiere of her play Drunk Enough to Say I Love You at the Royal Court and subsequently New York Public Theatre.

The world premiere of Samuel Adamson's A Quiet Island will begin performances Oct. 22, 2009, prior to an official opening Oct. 29, for a run to Dec. 5. Indu Rubasingham, who has directed Another America: Fire (an opera presented as part of the PUSH04 season) and Chain Play II for the Almeida, will direct. Adamson's plays include Southwark Fair and a new version of Ibsen's Pillars of the Community for the National, who are also premiering his play Mrs. Affleck. His adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar's All About My Mother was seen at the Old Vic last year. A Quiet Island revolves around a music icon, Tom Stark, who five years previously walked out of a family party and vanished. On a remote Greek Island his teenage daughter Vick is searching for him; two sightings posted on her website offer real hope. On the same island Sean and his wife Charlotte are trying to recover from the recent accidental death of their child. A brief encounter hurtles Sean into a cyber world of die-hard fans and a dangerous obsession with Vick, a girl out of control.

Then Roger Michell, recently represented by the West End production of The Female of the Species and who has also directed Betrayal and Old Times for the Donmar Warehouse and Honour at the National, will revive Patrick Hamilton's Rope, beginning performances Dec. 10, 2009, prior to an official opening Dec. 16, for a run to Jan. 30, 2010. Said to be inspired by the real-life murder of a young boy in 1920 by two University of Chicago students, Leopold and Loeb, Hamilton's thriller is set in a Mayfair apartment. Wyndham Brandon and Charles Granillo have murdered fellow student Ronald Kentley and deposited his body in a chest in their living room. Believing they are above common morality and suspicion they invite the student's father, his aunt and several of their friends over for tea, served on the chest. Rope will be produced at the Almeida in association with Sonia Friedman Productions.

In 2010 Michael Attenborough – the Almeida's artistic director who was formerly principal associate director at the RSC, where his productions included Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra and Henry IV parts I and II — will direct Measure for Measure as the first Almeida production to open in 2010. Precise dates and casting are to be announced.

To book tickets contact the box office at 020 7359 4404 or visit www.almeida.co.uk. Booking for Duet for One, Parlour Song and When the Rain Stops opens for Almeida Circle of Supporters Oct. 15, for mailing list members Oct. 29, and for public bookings Nov. 5. Booking for Judgment Day, A Quiet Island and Rope opens for Almeida Circle of Supporters Apr. 22, 2009, for mailing list members May 6, 2009, and for public bookings May 13, 2009.

Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman
Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman Photo by Hugo Glendinning
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