After only a handful of sold-out performances at the National’s small Cottesloe Theatre, Sher will take the play to South Africa and then back to London. After that, there’s talk of a possible Broadway transfer.
The show is based on Primo Levi’s harrowing Holocaust account, “If This Is a Man.” It is directed by Richard Wilson (despite his move into directing in recent years, Wilson is perhaps still best known for his acting and, in particular, his BBC television character Victor Meldrew in “One Foot in The Grave”) and designed by Hildegard Bechtler. Paul Pyant supplies the lighting in a staging that relies heavily on light and shadow.
Both Sher and Wilson are South African by birth, so the show’s residence at Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre will be something of a homecoming. And, Sher has spoken in interviews about the (very loose) parallels he drew on between Levi’s experience and the treatment of black South Africans that Sher witnessed growing up during the Apartheid era. Performances at the Baxter Theatre’s Sanlam Studio begin Jan. 12, 2005 (a preview, with the opening the next night) and run throug Feb. 5.
Then, it’s back to the U.K. for a run at the Hampstead Theatre, Feb. 23-March 19, 2005.
As for New York, the NT confirms that an unnamed Broadway producer is interested in taking the show to New York. And, it’s not the National’s usual stateside producing partners, Bob Boyett and Bill Haber. Nothing, however, is signed. For more information on the Hampstead run, call (0)20 7722 9301; for the Baxter run call (0) 21 685 7880.