Ben Whishaw to Star in New Play at the Almeida

News   Ben Whishaw to Star in New Play at the Almeida
 
The upcoming season will also include a new play by James Graham and a revival of a Martin Crimp work.
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Ben Whishaw Monica Simoes

London's Almeida Theatre in Islington has announced a new season that will include Ben Whishaw starring in Christopher Shinn's new play Against; a revival of Martin Crimp's The Treatment; and the premiere of James Graham's Ink. It has also announced a major digital project, Figures of Speech, to coincide with the U.S. presidential Inauguration.

In a press statement, artistic director Rupert Goold (who will also direct Ink), commented, "At the end of 2016, as our new season materialized and we looked back on a year of mendacious politics, ambition and international polarization, one recurring theme emerged: truth.

"Who owns the truth? What happens when the truth comes second to narrative – exploited for personal, commercial, political gain? How did facts suddenly become subjective? And is the truth explosive in the wrong hands?

"The Almeida’s new season interrogates the reality behind fiction – the line between truth and art, words and action, money and meaning. Coruscating, satirical and frighteningly prophetic, The Treatment, Ink and Against all deal with the slippery and seemingly subjective nature of truth. These plays speak to our societies' anxiety and uncertainty about the world we're living in now.”

The season opens with Martin Crimp's The Treatment, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1993 and will begin performances April 24 prior to an official opening April 28, for a run through June 10. This contemporary satire, set in a film studio in New York where a young woman has an urgent story to tell and the rights to your life can be a dangerous commodity to exploit, will be directed by Lyndsey Turner (who previously directed the award-winning Chimerica for the Almeida that transferred to the West End).

The cast will include Aisling Loftus as Anne and Matthew Needham as Simon. It will be designed by Giles Cadle, with lighting by Neil Austin, composition by Rupert Cross, fight direction by Bret Yount, and sound by Chris Shutt.

Ink, James Graham's new play about the birth of the U.K.'s most influential tabloid newspaper The Sun, launched by Rupert Murdoch in 1969, and its first editor's quest to give the people what they want, will begin performances June 17, prior to an official opening June 27, for a run through August 5.

Graham is currently represented in the West End by the transfer of his National Theatre play This House to the Garrick. He was recently represented in New York by Finding Neverland (for which he wrote the book) and Privacy (seen at the Public Theater last summer). The play will be directed by Rupert Goold (whose Almeida productions of King Charles III and American Psycho transferred to Broadway), with designs by Bunny Christie and lighting by Neil Austin.

Christopher Shinn's Against, set in Silicon Valley in the future, begins performances August 12 prior to an official opening August 23, for a run through September 30. Ben Whishaw will return to the Almeida, where he last appeared in Bakkhai, to star as Luke, an aerospace billionaire who can talk to anyone. But God is talking to him. He sets out to change the world. Only violence stands in his way.

Whishaw was most recently seen onstage on Broadway in The Crucible. His film credits include A Hologram for The King, The Danish Girl, Suffragette, the James Bond films Spectre and Skyfall as Q, Paddington, Perfume, and Brideshead Revisited. For television he won a BAFTA for the BBC adaptation of Richard II, directed by Rupert Goold.

It will be directed by Ian Rickson, former artistic director of the Royal Court, whose Royal Court productions of The Weir, The Seagull, Jerusalem, and The River all transferred to Broadway.

The Almeida has also announced the release of Figures of Speech, an anthology of digital films exploring the voices behind visionary leadership. The anthology was released online January 20, the day of the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, in partnership with the Guardian. It launched with Vanessa Redgrave reading Václav Havel’s Words on Words. The films are available for free through a dedicated microsite, alongside additional material on the themes explored through the speeches, creating a platform for a wider interrogation on what leadership means in the 21st century. Films can be viewed here: speech.almeida.co.uk.

Tickets for The Treatment and Ink go on public sale February 2, with tickets for Against to go on sale in May. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7359 4404 or visit almeida.co.uk.

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