Eclectic spring season for Young Vic

Published October 7, 2008

The Young Vic will team up with English National Opera (ENO) once again for a multimedia exploration of Purcell’s Dido And Aeneas next spring. An adaptation of a Kafka short story and two works created through a new development initiative are also announced in the Waterloo venue’s line up for early 2009.

After Dido, a live music and film performance inspired by Purcell’s Dido And Aeneas and co-produced with ENO, runs in the main house from 15 to 25 April. The new collaboration follows productions of Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway and Harrison Birtwistle’s Punch And Judy, which the Young Vic produced with ENO earlier this year.

Director Katie Mitchell returns to the Young Vic, where she previously directed The Jewish Wife, to direct After Dido with the team responsible for the National Theatre’s multimedia production of Waves. An Associate Director at the National, Mitchell’s many productions include Attempts On Her Life, The Seagull, Women Of Troy and …Some Trace Of Her.

ENO regular Susan Bickley performs the role of Dido. Bickley’s credits with ENO include Falstaff, The Trojans, Twice Through The Heart and The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant. Bickley is joined in the cast by James Gower, Adam Green, Helen Jarmanay, Katherine Manley and Nathan Vale.

In the Maria theatre, Kafka’s Monkey, an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story A Report To An Academy, plays from 14 March to 9 April (press night 19 March).

Kathryn Hunter, who previously appeared at the Young Vic in Fragments, plays a monkey playing a man in Kafka’s obscure world. Imprisoned in a cage and desperate to escape, the ape-man reveals his rise through the ranks of the beasts to become a walking, talking, spitting, smoking, hard-drinking man of the stage.

Colin Teevan’s adaptation of Kafka’s witty, absurd story reveals a world in which humans appear ape-like and apes humane, and offers an insight into the anguish of attempting to belong but always being kept outside.

The Clare theatre’s forthcoming focus will be the presentation of the work of talent chosen for the Young Vic’s new Wilson Bros initiative. Launched as part of its ongoing Genesis Directors project, the Wilson Bros scheme – named after the old butcher’s shop that once stood on the site of the Young Vic – offers one theatre company and three directors a residency at the Young Vic, culminating in a production staged in the Clare or Maria theatres.

This year’s chosen participants are directors Carrie Cracknell, Sarah Tipple and William Oldroyd and theatre company Sound And Fury. Oldroyd kicks off proceedings with his production of Ibsen’s Ghosts, which runs in the Clare from 17 to 20 December 2008. Tipple will work with the company on a work-in-progress entitled Bay, which plays from 1 to 4 April 2009. The work of Cracknell and Sound And Fury will be presented later next year.  

The Clare theatre will also present the directorial talents of this year’s Jerwood Directors Award, Daljinder Singh and Gbolahan Obisesan. Singh is to direct Israel Horovitz’s The Indian Wants The Bronx from 7 to 14 February 2009. Set in New York, it centres on wise-cracking hoodlums Murph and Joey, who wander the streets looking for kicks. Gupta, disorientated and far from home, makes an ideal target.

Details of the production to be directed by Obisesan are yet to be announced.

The spring programme at the Young Vic follows Rupert Goold’s Headlong production of King Lear, starring Pete Postlethwaite, which was already confirmed as the first show of the new year, running from 29 January to 28 March in the main house.

Before that, this year’s season continues with Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In The Red And Brown Water, which opens in the main house on Thursday, and a Brazilian-themed Christmas production, Amazonia, which runs from 27 November to 24 January.

CB