The production will be launched at Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Northern Stage for a run from Oct. 21-24, then continue to Oxford Playhouse (Oct. 27-31), Coventry's Belgrade Theatre (Nov. 3-7), Poole's Lighthouse (Nov. 10-14), Cardiff's Sherman Theatre (Nov. 17-21) and Salford's Lowry (Nov. 24-28).
According to press materials, the play – which revolves around two young soldiers who join their friends to binge drink the night before they leave for active service in Iraq — examines the aftermath of a war whose conflicts rage far beyond the Iraqi battleground. The playwright significantly re-worked the text to dramatize and acknowledge the shifting mood of a country now looking at troop withdrawal from Iraq before it transferred to the Tricycle.
In a press statement, RSC dramaturg Jeanie O'Hare commented, "Roy's play is very funny and captures the other side of the news. It is a captivating portrait of young people pitting their wits against a political war they find baffling. Roy captures the subtle moods and atmospheres of disillusion and desperation of small-town life. He looks at how we make our young soldiers into extreme versions of themselves and then we dump them back into the life they left. His characters have an inventive wit, which when mixed with cigarettes, sex and alcohol becomes lethal. It drives them tumbling into an uncertain future."
Williams, whose other plays include a stage adaptation of Absolute Beginners (Lyric Hammersmith), Joe Guy (Tiata Fahodzi/Soho Theatre), Fallout (Royal Court), Baby Girl and Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (National Theatre and tour), was awarded the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2001 for Clubland (Royal Court), the Alfred Fagon Award in 1997, and the OBE in 2008. In a press statement, he said, "Like others, I was against the war (in Iraq), but I had no interest in writing about the people in power. I remember watching a news item on telly about young people binge drinking at the weekends in city centres across the country. I wanted to capture that image and put it on the stage … young men returning from war, first love, old love."
The play is directed by Maria Aberg, who also directed the original production. Other directorial credits include State of Emergency (Gate Theatre), Crime and Punishment (National Theatre), Alaska and Stallerhof (Southwark Playhouse). The production is designed by Lizzie Clachan. No casting has been announced. For further details visit www.rsc.org.uk.