Ruth Wilson to Star in and Co-Direct London Premiere of Triple Bill of One-Act Plays by Eugene O'Neill
By Mark Shenton
Two-time Olivier winner Ruth Wilson, who can currently be seen in Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks" opposite Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, will star in the London premiere of The El. Train, a triple bill of one-act plays by Eugene O'Neill that were written between 1913 and 1918 and are being presented together for the first time.
It will be begin performances Dec. 6, prior to an official opening Dec. 12, at London's Hoxton Hall, for a run through Dec. 30. Wilson will appear in The Web and Before Breakfast, both directed by Sam Yates, and will make her directorial debut with the third play The Dreamy Child.
The productions will combine live music, featuring original composition and sound design by Alex Baranowski, with an immersive design by Richard Kent and lighting by Neil Austin. The El. Train is being produced by Found Productions.
In a press statement, director Yates commented, "I’m thrilled to be presenting three of Eugene O’Neill’s lesser-known, one-act plays at London's historic Hoxton Hall. Written when O’Neill was in his 20s, these sometimes violent, passionate works show the undeniable genius of one of America's greatest dramatists."
Set in impoverished New York at the turn of the 20th century, the event begins with the three one-act plays linked by a live ragtime/jazz band performing musical vignettes to further evoke the distinctive feel of the period, while elevating O’Neill’s epic themes of sin and redemption, and heaven and hell.
Kent and Austin are also transforming the bar area, remodeled as the Hell Hole Saloon, into an extension of the world of the plays, based on O’Neill’s drinking hole at the time he was writing them. Live music will continue as the audience drink period cocktails, as if they have been invited backstage to drink with the characters and with O’Neill himself. With a license to serve alcohol until 2 AM on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, DJ’s will play on the main stage after 11 PM. The Hell Hole Saloon pop-up is the conception of Found Productions, which is Lucy Chaloner, Alice Russell and Francesca Zampi (part-owner of The Box London) and will be run by Joe Stokoe of Heads, Hearts and Tails.
Wilson won the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Actress for playing the title role in Rob Ashford's production of Anna Christie opposite Jude Law and the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, also directed by Ashford, opposite Rachel Weisz (both at the Donmar Warehouse). Other stage credits include Philistines at the National Theatre and Through A Glass Darkly at the Almeida. TV roles include Jane in "Jane Eyre" and Alice Morgan in the BBC's "Luther." Film credits include "Anna Karenina" and "The Lone Ranger."
To book tickets and for more details, visit www.theeltrain.com .
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