Produced by Theatre Royal Haymarket Productions and Stanhope Productions in association with The Royal Shakespeare Company, the seldom seen Ibsen classic — about a priest who “rejects his dying mother and forbids his wife from mourning their son” — began previews at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket May 29 and runs through Aug. 30. Directed by Adrian Noble, the play features a translation by Michael Meyer and also stars Oliver Cotton, Jim Creighton, Alan David, Susan Engel, Sarah Everard, Jane Guernier, Colin Haigh, Sidney Livingstone, Jennifer McEvoy, Alistair Petrie, Claire Price, Laura Rees, Clifford Rose and Karen Traynor.
Brand was written in 1865 in Rome, in the first year of Ibsen's voluntary exile from Norway. It was his first major success as a playwright and established his name. Peer Gynt came two years later.
In an interview for the Royal Shakespeare Company website, Fiennes spoke about the character he plays in the Ibsen play: “Brand is a tough nut to crack as a character because Ibsen has written a very extreme man who has a hard and often really tough and merciless commitment to his Christian faith, but I found that there was a poetry and an epic quality in the play that I liked. The ideas really appealed to me — just to do with life and faith and the way you live your life. Brand's brand of faith is very tough, but there are moments in the play when you can be inspired by how he expresses his belief. At other times you could be repelled by it. He is a man who is trying to articulate his beliefs not just through language but through the way he lives his life.”
Born in Suffolk, England, Ralph Fiennes is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He joined Britain's Royal National Theatre in 1987 and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988. His numerous stage credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Fathers and Sons, King John, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Playing with Trains, The Talking Cure and the Almeida Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet, which transferred to Broadway and scored a 1995 Tony Award for the actor. Fiennes received Oscar nominations for his roles in “Schindler’s List” and “The English Patient.” His other screen credits include “Quiz Show,” “Sunshine,” “The End of the Affair” and “Maid in Manhattan.”
Tickets to Brand, priced between £12 and £40, are available by calling 011 44 20 7930 8800.