New Season at London's Royal Court Features Four World Premieres, Including Latest from Matilda Tony Winner Dennis Kelly
By Mark Shenton
Vicky Featherstone's inaugural season at the helm of London's Royal Court will feature four world premieres, including a new play by Dennis Kelly, 2013 Tony winner for Best Book of a Musical for his work on Matilda the Musical, that Featherstone will herself direct. The Royal Court will also host a limited run of a production from Featherstone's former company The National Theatre of Scotland, before it transfers to the West End.
Kelly will make his Royal Court debut with The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, beginning performances Sept. 5 prior to an official opening Sept. 11, for a run through Oct. 19. The play is described in press materials as a dark morality trail, that follows Gorge on the journey from innocence to savage greed and knotted honesty, as he invents three golden rule for success, whatever the cost.
Kelly's original plays include The Gods Weep (for the RSC at London's Hampstead Theatre,) Orphans (seen at the Traverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before transferring to the Birmingham Rep and Soho Theatre), My Teacher’s A Troll (for National Theatre of Scotland), After the End (at the Bush and on tour), Love and Money (at Royal Exchange, Manchester and Young Vic) and Taking Care of Baby at Hampstead Theatre.
The National Theatre of Scotland with Marla Rubin Productions Ltd and Bill Kenwright, in association with the Royal Court Theatre, will present Let the Right One In, beginning performances Nov. 29 prior to an official opening Dec. 5, for a run through Dec. 21. It is a stage adaptation by Jack Thorne, based on the 2004 novel and 2008 film of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. John Tiffany, the Tony-winning director of Once and now newly appointed associate director of the Royal Court, directs, with associate direction by Steven Hoggett, Tony nominee for Best Choreographer for Once.
In the play, Oskar is a lonely, bullied teenage boy living with his mother on a housing estate on the edge of town when a spate of sinister killings rock the neighbourhood. Eli is the young girl who has just moved in next door. She doesn't go to school and never leaves the flat by day. Sensing in each other a kindred spirit, the two become devoted friends. What Oskar doesn’t know is that Eli has been a teenager for a very long time.
Also in the Royal Court's new season, Lisa Dwan returns to perform a one-woman Samuel Beckett trilogy after a sell-out run of his landmark one–woman piece Not I, performed at the Royal Court 40 years after the theatre held its UK premiere. She will reprise Not I in a trilogy with Footfalls and Rockaby, beginning performances Jan. 9, 2014, prior to an official opening Jan. 13, for a run through Jan. 18.
It will be followed by Abi Morgan's The Mistress Contract, based on transcripts and the book by anonymous American couple She and He, that is to be published by Serpent’s Tail, beginning performances Jan. 30 prior to an official opening Feb. 5 for a run through March 8.
She and He are the pseudonyms of a real-life couple who live in separate houses in the same city on the west coast of America. She is 88. He is 93. For 30 years he has provided her with a home and an income, while she provides "mistress services" - "All sexual acts as requested, with suspension of historical, emotional, psychological disclaimers." They first met at university and then lost touch. When they met again 20 years later, they began an affair when She - a highly educated, intelligent woman with a history of involvement in the feminist movement - asked her wealthy lover to sign the remarkable document that outlines their unconventional lifestyle: The Mistress Contract.
Morgan's previous theatre credits include 27, Lovesong, Skinned, Splendour and Tiny Dynamite. Screenplays include "The Iron Lady" and "Shame," and TV credits include "The Hour," "Birdsong," "White Girl" and "Sex Traffic." It will be directed by Vicky Featherstone.
In the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, the season will begin with Peckham: The Soap Opera, transferring from Peckham's Bussey Building where it was staged as part of the Royal Court's Theatre Local season, created by Bola Agbaje and Rachel De-lahay as lead writers joined by dBrad Birch, Alice Birch, Adam Brace, Robin French, Lucy Kirkwood, Chloe Moss, David Watson and Roy Williams. It will begin performances Sept. 2 prior to an official opening Sept. 3 for a run through Sept. 14.
Also playing will be a season of new plays from Chile by David Arancibia Urzua, Florencia Martínez Echevarría, Bosco Israel Cayo Álvarez, Camila Le-Bert and Claudia Hidalgo, running Sept. 10 through 14.
It will be followed by Rachel De-lahay's Routes, beginning performances Sept. 20 prior to an official opening Sept. 25, for a run through Oct. 12. Simon Godwin directs a play that looks at immigration and exile, and finding where you belong.
Abhishek Majumdar's The Djinns of Eidgah will begin performances Oct. 18 prior to an official opening Oct. 22, for a run through Nov. 9. In the play, Ashrafi and Bilal are orphaned siblings stranded and defined by the troubles in Kashmir. 18 year old Bilal is the pride of the region, part of a teenage football team set for great heights, and pushed to the limits by the violence around them. Haunted by hope, his sister is caught in the past, and Bilal is torn between escaping the myths of war and the cycles of resistance. It will be directed by Richard Twyman.
Gastronauts, a theatre adventure with food, will begin performances Nov. 21 for a run through Dec. 21. Conceived by the writers of the Royal Court's Open Court season, including April De Angelis and Nessah Muthy, it will be directed by Wils Wilson.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7565 5000, or visit royalcourttheatre.com for more details.
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