As a result, the planned productions of a quartet of plays by writers new to the National has been moved to the NT Paintframe, the theatre’s backstage scenic studio, which is being opened for public performance for the first time. Performances will begin during the week commencing July 18, prior to an official opening Aug. 3 and 4, for a run through Sept. 10.
A single group of performers, under the direction of Polly Findlay and Lyndsey Turner, will premiere the two double-bills of plays by Tom Basden, Sam Holcroft, DC Moore and Prasanna Puwanarajah. The plays are designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting by James Farncombe, sound by Carolyn Downing and fight direction by Bret Yount. The cast includes Pippa Bennett-Warner, Karina Fernandez, Trystan Gravelle, Nitin Kundra and Stephanie Street.
Holcroft’s Edgar & Annabel (to be directed by Turner), revolves around a young married couple who prepare dinner in a smartly furnished kitchen. Annabel is composed, intelligent, in love. Edgar is professional, successful, assured. She’s chopping vegetables, he’s brought the wine. But something isn’t right. In a city not so different from our own capital, a group of freedom fighters attempt to stand up to an Orwellian establishment in increasingly perilous circumstances. According to press materials, the play paints a picture of a police state in crisis. The story that unfolds brings into question relationships, identities and the very nature of reality itself. Holcroft’s previous plays have been presented at Soho Theatre, the Latitude Festival, the Traverse and Tricycle.
Edgar and Annabel is presented in a double-bill with DC Moore’s The Swan (to be directed by Findlay). The Swan is set in a decaying pub in South London, where preparations are being made for a wake. The beer is warm, the rain is falling, and tempers are running close to breaking point. Denise has lost a father – and Jim has missed his own son’s funeral. With only an hour before their guests arrive, a fractured family begin to settle their accounts. The ghosts of lives lived and opportunities missed are laid to rest as new and ancient betrayals are confronted and forgiven. According to press materials, the play examines the ties that hold us together in a multi-cultural society. Moore’s previous plays include Alaska and the TMA Award- winning The Empire, both seen at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs.
Puwanarajah’s Nightwatchman (to be directed by Findlay), revolves around Abirami, who is English as well as Sri Lankan and a professional cricketer. Tomorrow she makes her debut for England against Sri Lanka, but tonight she faces a relentless bowling machine in a one-on-one session to prepare her for the innings of her life. As the night draws on, she challenges our preconceptions of politics, sport and national pride as harshly as she challenges her own. The play is described in press materials as an exploration of the search for the meaning of home. Puwanarajah, who also works as an actor, has written the short films "The Half Light," which he also directed, starring David Haig, Henry Goodman and Harry Lloyd, and "Clamp and Grind." Nightwatchman is presented in a double bill with Basden’s There Is a War (to be directed by Turner). There Is a War is set in another country, in another time, where civil war rages. The Blues and the Greys have been fighting each other for as long as they can remember. Soldiers, priests and scavengers roam a landscape scorched by years of battle and decay. Anne, a young medical officer, finds herself abandoned and useless, unable to locate the hospital or even the war she was promised. According to press materials, the play explores the mad savagery of war. Basden’s previous plays include Joseph K at The Gate and Party! (Fringe First Award).
Public booking opens June 21. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.