Following this year’s productions of The Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale, Sam Mendes will return to direct the second season of The Bridge Project in 2010 with a cast including Stephen Dillane, Anne-Marie Duff, Christian Camargo and Juliet Rylance.
A unique three year project between The Old Vic Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Neal Street Productions, the new season will see the company perform a double-bill of Shakespeare’s comedies The Tempest and As You Like It. The season will open with The Tempest at the BAM Harvey Theatre in January 2010 followed in February by As You Like It, after which the company will embark on a tour across Asia and Europe before playing at the Old Vic later in the summer.
Following the same pattern as this year’s productions, the plays will be performed in rep with the cast taking roles in both plays. Dillane will play Prospero in The Tempest and Jaques in As You Like It, with Duff as Ariel and Rosalind, Camargo as Stephano and Orlando and Rylance as Miranda and Celia.
Dillane was originally cast to play Hamlet in the first The Bridge Project in 2008 before he was forced to withdraw for personal reasons, meaning the season was cancelled and the project delayed by a year. His role in this year’s season will see his first return to the New York stage since winning a Tony Award in 2000 for his performance in David Leveaux’s The Real Thing, for which he was also nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for the production’s run at the Donmar Warehouse and Albery Theatre (now the Noël Coward Theatre). Dillane was last seen on the London stage in the National Theatre’s The Coast Of Utopia in 2002, a trilogy of new plays by Tom Stoppard. A successful actor both on stage and screen, his film career includes roles in The Hours, John Adams and the Goal! trilogy.
Duff, who will make her US stage debut in The Tempest, is no stranger to the London stage having been nominated for two Laurence Olivier Awards – in 2000 for Collected Stories at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and in 2008 for Saint Joan at the National Theatre. Best known on screen for her performance in Channel 4’s drama Shameless, she also received critical acclaim for her role in the BBC mini-series Elizabeth – The Virgin Queen. Her films credits include The Magdalene Sisters and Enigma.
Camargo, an American actor, recently performed on Broadway in Simon McBurney’s All My Sons and as Hamlet at the Theater for a New Audience. He has worked in London as part of the Shakespeare’s Globe company, as has his wife Rylance who joins him in The Bridge Project cast. Rylance was most recently seen on Broadway as Desdemona in a production of Othello at the Theater for a New Audience.
Director Sam Mendes, best known for his work on films including Revolutionary Road and American Beauty, commented on the 2010 double-bill casting saying, “Stephen Dillane and I began a conversation about his playing Prospero in The Tempest when I first conceived The Bridge Project back in 2007 and I’m delighted to be finally bringing those plans to fruition. I’m equally thrilled to be welcoming Anne-Marie Duff, one of the finest actors of her generation, playing Rosalind in As You Like It. Complemented by Christian Camargo and Juliet Rylance – two actors I have also followed, admired and hoped to collaborate with – it all adds to my excitement about forming The Bridge Project’s second company, and building on the wonderful experience of our first year.
“The Bridge Project is a major commitment for actors. It unfurls across nine months with two plays performed across major seasons in New York and London, interspersed with an international touring schedule that takes in the Far East and many of Europe’s finest cultural festivals. The current Bridge company has been made extraordinarily welcome in the countries we’ve visited and I’m hugely looking forward to making a second such journey.”
The first season of The Bridge Project is currently playing at the Old Vic until 15 August, before closing at the Epidaurus in Greece on 22 August.