Calico chronicles the often-tempestuous relationship between the absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett and Lucia, the disturbed daughter of another writing great, James Joyce. The title refers to the name of the cotton, which is often used for tying the wrists of people when they are taken off to mental institutions. It’s not the first time that Hastings has written about literary figures. His most famous play, Tom and Viv — which was made into a 1994 film starring Willem Dafoe, Miranda Richardson and Rosemary Harris — concerned a young T.S. Eliot. Hastings was nominated for an Oscar for that movie.
The cast includes Dermot Crowley, most recently seen by Londoners in National Theatre productions of Scenes From The Big Picture and His Girl Friday, as Joyce. Alongside him are Romola Garai (who stars in the forthcoming movie sequel to “Dirty Dancing,” “Havana Nights”) as Lucia Joyce, Olivier Award-winning actress Imelda Staunton and James Beamish, Daniel Weyman, Robert Portal and Issy Van Randwyck. Another National Theatre regular, Edward Hall, directs the production at the Duke of York’s Theatre in St. Martins Lane.