Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters In Search Of An Author, which is currently playing at Chichester’s Minerva theatre, transfers to the West End’s Gielgud theatre on 10 September (press night 15 September), for a limited run to 8 November.
A co-production between touring theatre company Headlong and Chichester Festival Theatre, this new version of Pirandello’s 1921 classic is devised by Ben Power and Headlong Artistic Director Rupert Goold – who also directs – the writing duo behind previous Headlong production Faustus. As with Faustus, this is a bold re-imaging of the original, which has been updated and adapted for a modern audience.
The play follows six strangers who arrive unannounced during the editing of a documentary film. These fictional characters have an appalling story to tell and are desperately searching for an author, so the documentary maker agrees to film their story. Blurring the boundary between fiction and reality, the play is a sinister parable for a media-obsessed age.
The entire Chichester cast, led by Ian McDiarmid, transfers with the production. McDiarmid is the former joint-Artistic Director of the Almeida, and his many stage credits include John Gabriel Borkman and Pirandello’s Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse, where he returns in 2009 for Be Near Me.
The rest of the cast comprises Noma Dumezweni, who won a 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for her supporting performance in A Raisin In The Sun, Jamie Bower, Eleanor David, Dyfan Dwyfor, Christine Entwisle, Denise Gough, Jake Harders, Jeremy Joyce, John Mackay, Freya Parker and Robin Pearce.
This the first West End transfer for Headlong, which has already had two off-West End productions this year – The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot at the Almeida and …Sisters at the Gate. It continues the run of success for director Goold, whose production of Macbeth also transferred from Chichester to the Gielgud last year, receiving a slew of awards including the 2008 Best Director Laurence Olivier Award for Goold. The much in demand director’s production of No Man’s Land transfers to London from the Gate theatre Dublin at the end of September, while in December Goold directs the much-publicised production of the musical Oliver! at Drury Lane, starring reality TV-cast Nancy, Jodie Prenger.
Six Characters In Search Of An Author is presented in the West End by Carole Winter and Michael Edwards, who produced David Harrower’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning play Blackbird at the Albery (now Noël Coward) in 2007.
The Gielgud is currently dark following Yasmina Reza’s acclaimed comedy drama God Of Carnage, starring Ralph Fiennes and Tamsin Greig, which finished its run on 14 June.