London's Almeida to Offer New Adaptation of Mamet's "House of Games," Plus Dillane as Ibsen's Master Builder

News   London's Almeida to Offer New Adaptation of Mamet's "House of Games," Plus Dillane as Ibsen's Master Builder
London's Almeida Theatre is to present a new stage adaptation of David Mamet's 1987 film "House of Games", and Stephen Dillane will play the title role in Ibsen's The Master Builder as part of the fall season.

Stephen Dillane
Stephen Dillane

Mamet's House of Games, which will be adapted for the stage by leading contemporary playwright Richard Bean, will begin performances Sept. 9, prior to an official opening Sept. 16, for a run through Nov. 6. It will be directed by Lindsay Posner, with designs by Peter McKintosh and lighting by Paul Pyant. Casting is yet to be announced.

The story revolves around Harvard-educated psychoanalyst Margaret Ford, who is is celebrated for her bestselling book "Driven! Compulsion and Obsession in Every Day Life". Helping one of her patients settle his gambling debts, she compromises her professional reputation and is drawn into the seedy underworld of the House of Games poker club. Seduced by charismatic hustler Mike, Margaret convinces herself that she can make an academic study of the con-artist. Before she realizes it, Margaret is entangled in a fast-paced thriller.

Mamet is currently represented on Broadway by Race. His play Romance received its British premiere at the Almeida in a production directed by Posner. Mamet's other original plays include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross, Oleanna, American Buffalo, A Life in the Theatre, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Romance and Speed-the-Plow. His films, as a writer, include "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "The Verdict," "The Untouchables" and "The Winslow Boy" and as writer/director, "House of Games" (which marked his film directorial debut), "Oleanna," "The Spanish Prisoner," "State and Main" and "Heist."

Bean has previously been represented at the Almeida by his version of Moliere's The Hypochondriac. His original plays include England People Very Nice (which premiered at the National Theatre last year), The English Game (produced by Headlong), Harvest, Honeymoon Suite and Toast (all for the Royal Court), The Mentalists (for the National Theatre) and Up On Roof for Hull Truck.

In addition to Mamet's Romance, Posner has previously directed The Hypochondriac and Tom and Viv for the Almeida. Elsewhere, he has directed productions of Mamet's Oleanna, A Life in the Theatre and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Other recent credits include Fiddler on the Roof (first at Sheffield's Crucible that subsequently transferred to the West End's Savoy), Three Sisters on Hope Street, Carousel and A View from the Bridge. The Almeida has also announced that Stephen Dillane, who was last seen at the theatre in his one-man Macbeth directed by Travis Preston, will return to the venue to star in Preston's new production of Ibsen's The Master Builder. It will begin performances Nov. 12, prior to an official opening Nov. 18, for a run through Jan. 8, 2011.

Featuring designs by Vicki Mortimer, lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by John Leonard, the play will be presented in a version by Kenneth McLeish. Ffurther casting is yet to be announced.

In the play, Dillane plays master builder Halvard Solness, who has reached the pinnacle of his career, but at a cost: his family life is in ruins and he lives in fear that the next generation will rise up and brush him aside. When Hilde Wangel, a bewitching young woman, arrives to collect a decade-old debt, she breathes new life into his professional pride. As Solness completes his architectural masterpiece, will Hilde be the Master Builder’s ultimate downfall?

Dillane is currently appearing in the double-bill The Tempest and As You Like It, directed by Sam Mendes, that opened at BAM and is London-bound to the Old Vic, where the plays will run in repertoire form June 12 through Aug. 21. Other stage credits include Hamlet at the West End's Gielgud Theatre for director Peter Hall and Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing at the Donmar Warehouse, that subsequently transferred to the West End and Broadway. At the National Theatre, he has appeared in The Coast of Utopia, Angels in America and Dancing at Lughnasa and at the Royal Court Theatre he has been seen in Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, Our Late Night and Hush.

Preston is artistic director of the Center for New Performance at Cal Arts, the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts.

Priority booking for Almeida Theatre members opens May 13, with pubic booking from June 3. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7359 4404, or visit www.almeida for more details.

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