First seen in Northampton last October, they are directed by Laurie Sansom, artistic director of the Royal and Derngate. In a press statement, he has commented, "I am thrilled to be bringing these two remarkable and relatively unknown plays to the National after such a great response to the season last year. This is a great time for Royal & Derngate; positive reviews for our last two seasons and a triple win at the TMA Awards – we are all looking forward to a successful 2010."
According to press materials, both plays contemplate critical life choices taken in youth and the conflict between duty and self-fulfilment. Beyond the Horizon, first produced on Broadway in 1920, was O'Neill's first full-length play, and won the 32-year-old playwright the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Largely forgotten since, it is considered by many to be the first modern American tragedy, paving the way for the poetic realism of Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Edward Albee. A tale of two brothers who love the same woman, it is described as being a story of youthful dreams crashing into reality and the human spirit being tested almost beyond endurance.
Williams' Spring Storm was written while he was still a playwriting student at Iowa University, and was re-discovered among his papers in 1999. It follows the tale of the beautiful and charming Heavenly and her host of young male admirers. When forced to make a decision between her handsome and wild lover, Dick, and the seemingly respectable and sensitive Arthur, the consequences of her actions threaten to tear their lives apart.
The cast from Northampton will reprise their performances in London, including Liz White, who starred in TV's "Life on Mars" and appeared in Mike Leigh's film "Vera Drake," Michael Malarkey who made his professional debut in the Northampton season last year and Michael Thomson whose theatre work includes Cameron in J. M. Barrie's Mary Rose (Nottingham Playhouse) and Toby Cole in David Hare's Amy's View (Salisbury Playhouse).
Tickets go on sale from Feb. 17 for performances to June 19. To book, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk