"It's the Story of Caged Animals," Says Keira Knightley of Thérèse Raquin, Starting Tonight on Broadway

News   "It's the Story of Caged Animals," Says Keira Knightley of Thérèse Raquin, Starting Tonight on Broadway
 
Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of Thérèse Raquin, featuring a new adaptation by Helen Edmundson, based upon the novel by Émile Zola, begins previews Oct. 1 at Studio 54.

Directed by Evan Cabnet, the production will officially open Oct. 29.

The cast is headed by Academy and Golden Globe nominee Keira Knightley (Thérèse), who is making her Broadway debut alongside Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert (Camille), Matt Ryan (Laurent) and two-time Tony Award winner Judith Light (Madame Raquin).

"Randomly," Knightley reveals, Thérèse Raquin is "the only thing I've been offered more than once — not this adaptation of it, and obviously not this production. But I think I've been offered it twice before, and each time I've turned it down because I thought, 'Whoa! That's too dark and too difficult, and I don't know what to do with it,' and I think I was really frightened of it. Suddenly, it came back around again, and I thought, 'Okay, why does this thing keep coming back around?' I guess I was just in a place where I felt like I wanted to give it a go."

Also in the cast are David Patrick Kelly, Jeff Still, Mary Wiseman, Glynis Bell, Alex Mickiewicz, Sara Topham and Ray Virta. This new adaptation was commissioned by Roundabout Theatre Company.

"A quiet young woman with a restless spirit, Thérèse (Knightley) submits to a loveless life at the side of her weak and selfish husband played by Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert (Matilda), and her controlling mother-in-law, played by two-time Tony Award winner Judith Light (The Assembled Parties)…until she meets his childhood friend Laurent played by Matt Ryan ('Constantine')," according to press notes. "When their overwhelming passion spins violently out of control, they realize that love can be a dangerous game, and sometimes there is no winner."

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley Photo by Jenny Anderson

Knightley adds, "It is such a dark story. It's about putting three characters in a petri dish and not allowing them out and seeing what happens. It's the story of caged animals, really, and I think that story is fascinating — what happens to somebody when the world they're in becomes a cage, and how do they behave? I've always found that fascinating, and I think that this is a prime example of that. She's somebody who is trapped, and she acts out because she is trapped."

What attracted her to theatre? "I mean, that's what I wanted to do. My mom is a playwright, my dad was a theatre actor. I grew up going to their rehearsal rooms, and I grew up going to a lot of theatre," she said. "The way of things, because acting isn't necessarily a job that you can really plan, I just happened to get film and television work, and I didn't happen to do any theatre. And then, once you're on that road, you just keep going and keep going and keep going."

The design team includes Beowulf Boritt (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Keith Parham (lighting), Josh Schmidt (sound), Tom Watson (hair and wigs) and J. David Brimmer (fight director).

Tickets are available online at RoundaboutTheatre.org, by calling (212) 719-1300 or at the Studio 54 box office (254 West 54th Street).

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