First Two Previews For Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years Cancelled

News   First Two Previews For Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years Cancelled
The first two previews for Mike Leigh's much-anticipated new play Two Thousand Years for the National Theatre have been cancelled. The show was to have begun its run-up to the opening on September 8, but that performance and the one the following day have been wiped. Extra Sunday performances for the sold-out run have been scheduled for audience members who had booked for those previews.

The notoriously secretive writer has still not let the show's subject matter be known.

The production is due to open in the Cottesloe on Sept. 15. As reported recently, all 16,000 advance tickets have been snapped up. The Guardian newspaper has speculated that the play might be about the Iraq War, as the poster features a palm tree and sand dunes, and Leigh publicly made his opposition to that war known at the time.

But the National has already housed one new play about the war, David Hare's Stuff Happens. And, according to the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, actress Miriam Margolyes, who unsuccessfully auditioned for the play, has said that it deals with "being Jewish."

Even staff at the National Theatre don't know much about the play, as Leigh has been working off-site (he famously gives his actors room to improvise and discover their characters before a script is finalized). Although all the advance tickets have been sold, there will be some day-of-performance tickets available.

Leigh's first new stage play since 1993's It's a Great Big Shame! will be designed by Alison Chitty, with lighting by Paul Pyant, music by Gary Gershon and sound by John Leonard. The cast includes John Burgess, Ben Caplan, Allan Corduner, Adam Godley, Caroline Gruber, Nitzan Sharron, Samantha Spiro and Alexis Zegerman. Leigh's last film, "Vera Drake," won the Golden Lion at the 2004 Venice Film Festival and bagged Imelda Staunton (its leading lady) a BAFTA, as well as Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.

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