Bourne's Play Without Words, which premiered at the National last year as part of Trevor Nunn's Transformation season, returns there on Dec. 10, running in rep until March 6. It will then go on a ten-week tour, prior to heading East to Tokyo.
Meanwhile, his Nutcracker!, a stylishly dark take on the perennial children's classic, will return to Sadler's Wells, where it was a hit last year.
Play Without Words is largely based on the cult 60s film "The Servant," in which a sinister Dirk Bogarde (making the transition from pretty boy matinee idol of a string of British movies, to striking older star of many darker, and usually European films) turns the tables on his employer and master, played by a young James Fox.
The fact that Play Without Words is in effect a modern ballet reflected Trevor Nunn's willingness to experiment, as well as Bourne's theatrical flair, which saw his version of Swan Lake become the most popular modern ballet of the age. Bourne's international reputation was recently marked by his receipt of the Hamburg Shakespeare Award for the Arts. He was only the second dance artist to be so honored. The other was Dame Margot Fonteyn.
The year 2004 is obviously going to be a big year for Bourne, as his Swan Lake is at last being revived in a national tour (and visit to Paris), culminating in a six-week season at Sadler's Wells—the theatre where it was first seen back in 1995—from July 13 to August 29. It will then travel on to the United States.