The Gate's artistic director Christopher Haydon will direct. In a press statement, Haydon has commented that the play "looks at how the aftershocks of a conflict reverberate on the home front. Set in 1972 in the American Midwest, it tells the story of how one woman, Carla, struggles to cope with the loss of her husband in the Vietnam war. It is a bruising and heartbreaking exploration of grief. This is the first revival anywhere in the world of the piece since it was first staged in 2002 by Steppenwolf in Chicago and I am thrilled that Bruce has agreed to let us do it."
In the play, Carla is trying to rebuild her life. Her husband is gone — killed in Vietnam. Now, under the watchful eye of her mother-in-law, she must raise her young son while struggling to avoid the morbid sympathy of her local community. But everything changes when an unexpected and mysterious soldier arrives on her doorstep.
Norris is currently represented on Broadway by his Tony Award-winning play Clybourne Park, which also won the Olivier Award for Best Play when it was presented in the U.K. at the Royal Court. His other plays include The Actor Retires, The Vanishing Twin, The Infidel, We All Went Down to Amsterdam, The Pain and The Itch, The Unmentionables and A Parallelogram.
Prior to Purple Heart, the Gate will present Caroline Bird's new contemporary adaptation of the Euripides' tragedy The Trojan Women, a play which also explores the impact of war on the lives of those left behind. Set in the mother and baby unit of a modern prison, the play examines life at the epicentre of a warzone as the fallen Trojan queen Hecuba tries to make sense of the shocking new reality she is confronted with. It will begin performances Nov. 8, prior to an official opening Nov. 12, for a run through Dec. 15.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7229 0706, or visit gatetheatre.co.uk for more details.