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Haddon brings Polar Bears to Donmar

Published 30 October 2009

Novelist Mark Haddon is to write a new play for the Donmar Warehouse. Polar Bears will be staged as part of the new season at the Covent Garden venue, which also includes Lanford Wilson’s Serenading Louie and a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion.

The spring season kicks off with Serenading Louie (11 February to 27 March, press night 16 February) by Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright Wilson, whose other work includes Home Free!, Talley’s Folly and Fifth Of July.

Serenading Louie is a portrait of two suburban American couples told from the perspective of college friends Carl and Alex, who are both struggling to deal with the harsh realities of adulthood as they enter their 30s. Disillusioned by work and having difficulty keeping their marriages alive, they are desperately trying to make sense of it all. 

No casting has yet been announced for Serenading Louie, which is directed by stage and television director Simon Curtis, whose recent work includes Cranford and A Short Stay In Switzerland for the BBC.

The season continues with the debut play by Haddon, who is best known for his award-winning novel about a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time. Now Haddon applies his knowledge of the human psyche to new play Polar Bears (1 April to 22 May, press night 6 April), which portrays one man’s struggle to love, support and live with someone suffering from a psychological condition.

Haddon’s other work includes the novels A Spot Of Bother, Agent Z and The Real Porky Philips and children’s television programmes Microsoap and Fungus The Bogeyman.

Polar Bears is directed by Donmar Associate Director Jamie Lloyd, whose work includes Piaf at the Donmar Warehouse and Vaudeville theatre, as well as the West End productions of Three Days Of Rain, The Lover and The Collection and the forthcoming The Little Dog Laughed.

Lloyd is also to direct the revival of Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical Passion later in the year, for which exact dates have not yet been confirmed. The production will form the centrepiece of a celebration to honour the influential American composer’s 80th birthday.

Sondheim’s 1994 musical is based on the Italian novel Fosca and tells of a sickly woman’s obsessive love for a soldier in 19th century Italy. It received its London premiere in 1996 with Michael Ball and Maria Friedman in the central roles, earning Friedman a Laurence Olivier Award the following year.

Speaking about the new season, Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Grandage said: “Following our year long residency at Wyndham’s theatre, we are keen to continue to develop our audience and I feel confident that the work we are announcing today offers something for everyone.”

The new season follows John Logan’s new play Red, starring Eddie Redmayne and Alfred Molina, which plays from 3 December to 6 February (press night 8 December).

CB

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