The production will reunite leading members of the National's Cottesloe company of the late seventies and early eighties, including director Bill Bryden and actors Jack Shepherd and Iain Robertson. Previews will begin Sept. 10, prior to an official opening Sept. 12, and the production will run through Oct. 18.
In a press statement director Bryden said, "If O'Neill was the architect of the American drama, Tennessee Williams was its poet. In great plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie he brought his voice from the South to Broadway. Small Craft Warnings is his last major play and a testament to his unique talent – we celebrate his memory."
Set on a foggy, rainy night in Southern California in 1972, the play revolves around nine people who congregate in a seedy coastal bar. The authorities have put out a small craft warning – one which applies as much to those inside the bar as out. Watched over by bar tender Monk (played by Shepherd) is a doctor who has been barred from the profession because of his drinking; Leona, a trailer park beautician; Bill, an aging stud; Violet, distraught and needy; Tony, the cop; Quentin, a washed-up screenwriter and Bobby (Robertson), the farm boy he picked up on the side of the road.
Bryden's productions at the National include The Mysteries, Lark Rise, The Iceman Cometh and the British premiere of Glengarry Glen Ross; Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen at the Royal Opera House; and Romeo and Juliet at Birmingham Rep.
Shepherd, a writer as well as an actor, has previously appeared at the Arcola in his own play, Chasing the Moment, and co-directed a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream there with artistic director Mehmet Ergen. He also acted there in Ostrovsky's A Family Affair in 2006. Acting roles at the National include The Futurists, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Iceman Cometh and American Buffalo. Robertson appeared in Bryden's production of The Mysteries at the National, and in The Tempest at Sheffield Crucible and the Old Vic. For tickets contact the box office at 020 7503 1646 or visit www.arcolatheatre.com.