By Mark Shenton
02 Apr 2014
The previously announced production of Euripides' Medea, to be presented in a new version by Ben Power and starring Helen McCrory in the title role, will begin performances July 14 prior to an official opening July 21, for a run in rep through Sept. 4. The production, which launches this year's Travelex £15 season, will be broadcast as part of the NT Live season Sept. 4. Carrie Cracknell will direct a cast that also includes Michaela Coel, Danny Sapani and Cath Whitefield.
The previously announced trilogy of Rona Munro's The James Plays, being presented in a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival — where they will premiere at the Festival Theatre for a run Aug. 9-22 — will begin performances in the Olivier Theatre Sept. 10, prior to an official opening at a press day Sept. 25, then running through Oct. 29.
The plays, which bring to life three generations of Stewart Kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous fifteenth century, will feature an ensemble cast that includes Cameron Barnes, Daniel Cahill, Ali Craig, Blythe Duff, Peter Forbes, Sofie Gråbøl (as the Danish-born Queen Margaret), Sarah Higgins, Stephanie Hyam, Gordon Kennedy, David Mara, Beth Marshall, James McArdle (James I), Rona Morison, Andrew Rothney (James II), Mark Rowley, Jamie Sives (James III) and Fiona Wood.
Directed by Laurie Sansom, who is artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, the productions are designed by Jon Bausor, with lighting by Philip Gladwell, movement by Neil Bettles, sound by Christopher Shutt and Nick Sagar, and puppet direction by Mervyn Millar.
Enda Walsh's previously announced Ballyturk will begin performances Sept. 11 in the Lyttelton Theatre prior to an official opening Sept. 16, for a five-week run through Oct. 11. It reunites the playwright (who also directs his own work) with actor Cillian Murphy, following their 2011 collaboration on Misterman, also seen at the National. Murphy is joined by Stephen Rea.
In the play, the lives of two men unravel quickly over the course of 90 minutes. Where are they? Who are they? What is this room, and what might be beyond the walls?
Presented by Landmark Productions and Galway Arts Festival, the production is designed by Jamie Vartan, with lighting by Adam Silverman, sound by Helen Atkinson and music by Teho Teardo.
In the Shed, David Henry Hwang's Yellow Face, originally staged by Alex Sims at North London's Park Theatre, will be revived, beginning performances May 5 prior to an official opening May 8, for a run through May 24. The play, which explores the impact race has had on the East Asian experience in America, will be performed by its original London cast that comprises Gemma Chan, Christy Meyer, Davina Perera, John Schwab, Kevin Shen, Ben Starr and David Yip. The production is designed by Lily Arnold with lighting design by Joshua Carr and sound design by Isobel Waller-Bridge.
Also in the Shed, Polly Stenham's Hotel will begin performances May 31 prior to an official opening June 5, for a run through Aug. 2. Maria Aberg directs a cast that includes Ntonga Mwanzi and Susan Wokoma. The play is described in press materials as a tropical thriller where nothing is quite what it seems. It is designed by Naomi Dawson, with lighting by David Holmes and sound by Alex Caplen.
In addition, booking is opening for Treasure Island, a new adaptation by Bryony Lavery of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story, that will begin performances Dec. 22, prior to a press night that is still to be confirmed. Suitable for those aged 10 and over, the production will be directed by Polly Findlay and designed by Lizzie Clachan, with lighting design by Bruno Poet.
The 1927 company will reprise their show The Animals and Children Took to the Streets for a run of six performances in the Lyttelton Theatre, beginning performances May 23 for a run through May 26. It has previously had two runs at the National. Directed and written by Suzanne Andrade with film, animation and design by Paul Barritt, it is produced by Joanna Crowley with music by Lillian Henley and costume by Sarah Munro and Esme Appleton. The cast is Suzanne Andrade, Esme Appleton and Lillian Henley.
Comedian Mark Thomas will also present his solo show 100 Minor Acts of Dissent for one performance in the Lyttelton June 2. Thomas set himself the task of committing 100 Acts of Minor Dissent in the space of a year. He catalogues everything from the smallest and silliest gesture to the grandest confrontation, with results that are described in press materials as "subversive, hilarious, mainly legal and occasionally inspiring."
Just outside the National Theatre, The Roof will be presented under the night sky in the Doon Street Car Park across the street from the National. Commissioned by LIFT and presented by Fuel in association with the National Theatre, it is conceived, directed and choreographed by David Rosenberg (co-founder of Shunt) and Frauke Requardt.
It will take place in a purpose-built arena designed by Jon Bausor, set designer for the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony. Standing throughout, audiences will experience the breathless mix of 360-degree hair-trigger movement, influenced by free running and set against the skyline of London, with intimate, three dimensional music and sound by Dave Price via individual headphones.
The National Theatre's hit production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, whose West End run was curtailed when the ceiling of the Apollo Theatre partially collapsed in December, is to resume performances as previously announced at the Gielgud Theatre June 24, prior to an official opening July 8. It is also headed to a Broadway opening at the Barrymore Theatre in October. It has now been announced that it will also embark on a U.K. tour beginning performances in December at Salford's Lowry, before visiting Hull, Newcastle, Plymouth, Northampton, Nottingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Southampton.
Finally, April de Angelis is to join the National as Writer in Residence for a year from April 2014. She succeeds Sam Holcroft in the post, which is based at the NT Studio and allows the playwright to focus on her own work as well as offering support to other creative artists and theatre-makers developing work there. It also bring a writer’s perspective to the creative planning of the National Theatre.
Public booking for Medea, The James Plays, Ballyturk, Treasure Island, The Animals and Children and 100 Acts of Minor Dissent opens April 17; booking for Yellow Face and Hotel is already open. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000 or visit nationaltheatre.org.uk.