Almeida Season Will Feature British Premieres of Shepard and LaBute Plays

News   Almeida Season Will Feature British Premieres of Shepard and LaBute Plays Stephen Rea will star in Sam Shepard's own production of his latest play, Kicking a Dead Horse, which will come to London's Almeida Theatre for a 16 performance-run Sept. 5-20 with an official opening on Sept. 10.
Neil LaBute
Neil LaBute

It will come to the Almeida after a run at the New York Public Theater, where it will play from June 25-July 27 with an official opening on July 14. Dead Horse premiered last year at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

The Shepard work will launch the Almeida's autumn season that also includes a revival of Harley Granville Barker's Waste, directed by Samuel West, and the U.K. premiere of Neil LaBute's In a Dark Dark House.

Kicking a Dead Horse is described in press materials as "the story of Hobart Struther, a wealthy Manhattan art dealer, who has ditched his shiny city life in search of authenticity in the modern-day wild west." Shepard's The Late Henry Moss received its European premiere at the Almeida in 2006. Rea, whose was most recently seen on the London stage in Pinter's Celebration, previously played the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac at the National Theatre and has starred in such films as "The Crying Game," "Pret-a-Porter," "Michael Collins" and, most recently, "Jumper."

Waste will run Sept. 25-Nov. 15 with an official opening on Oct. 2. Casting is still be announced. The play revolves around a radical independent politician Henry Trebell, who is persuaded to join the Conservative Party in order to champion his Bill to Disestablish the Church of England and to use its funds to finance a vast education program. But a liaison with a married woman, who dies after aborting their child, brings private scandal into the political arena. Written in 1907 but banned by the Lord Chamberlain, Waste received its first production almost 30 years later in 1936 at the Westminster Theatre. Director Samuel West recently directed Dealer's Choice at the Menier Chocolate Factory, which subsequently transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios. As an actor, West was recently seen in the U.S. premiere of Caryl Churchill's Drunk Enough to Say I Love You at New York's Public Theater earlier this year.

Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough, who previously directed the European premiere of Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat at the theatre in 2003, will direct the European premiere of another of the playwright's plays, In a Dark Dark House, running Nov. 2-Jan. 17, 2009, with an official opening on Nov. 27. Premiered in New York last year, it will be the second LaBute play to transfer to London this year, following the current West End run of Fat Pig. The play revolves around two brothers who are brought together as one undergoes court-ordered rehab. The forced reunion brings to light barely-hidden animosities between the two and their troubled legacy, both inside and outside their dark family home. For tickets contact the box office at 020 7359 4404 or visit www.almeida.co.uk.