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Hare and Shaw in National autumn

Published June 17, 2009

Playwright David Hare’s response to the credit crunch, a new work entitled The Power Of Yes, is to be staged at the National Theatre this autumn.

The piece, which plays in the Lyttelton from 29 September (press night 6 October), joins the repertoire along with a new production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage And Her Children in the Olivier, in which Fiona Shaw is directed by Deborah Warner, and a new play by Polish writer Tadeusz Slobodzianek, Our Class, in the Cottesloe.

The Power Of Yes, subtitled ‘A dramatist seeks to understand the financial crisis’, was commissioned by the National earlier this year as an urgent and immediate work seeking to find out what happened when the banking system collapsed last autumn, and why.

After meeting with key players from the financial world, Hare has created an account of how, as the banks went bust, capitalism was replaced by a socialism that bailed out the rich alone.

Hare is the author of 14 plays for the National Theatre including Stuff Happens, The Permanent Way, Amy’s View, Skylight, Racing Demon, Pravda and Gesthemane, which premiered last year. Elsewhere, his meditation on the Israel/Palestine separation barrier, Wall, recently played at the Royal Court, as did his play The Vertical Hour.

Tony Kushner’s translation of Brecht’s Mother Courage And Her Children, which plays in the Olivier theatre from 9 September (press night 16 September), stars Shaw in the title role as a woman who drags her cart of goods for sale across the battlefields, profiteering from a war that destroys her children one by one.

Shaw and director Warner have worked together on numerous occasions, most recently on Happy Days at the National Theatre in 2007. Their other collaborations include Richard II, The Good Person Of Sichuan, The Powerbook (all at the National), Medea, Electra, Hedda Gabler and The Waste Land.

Meanwhile Slobodzianek’s Our Class plays in the Cottesloe from 16 September (press night 23 September). Beginning in Poland in 1925, it centres on a group of Jewish and Catholic schoolchildren who reveal what they want to be when they grow up. But as they do, their country is torn apart by invading armies, first Soviet and then Nazi. Internal grievances deepen as fervent nationalism develops, friends betray each other and violence escalates, until these people carry out a monstrous act that darkly resonates to this day.

Slobodzianek is one of Poland’s leading playwrights whose plays Turlajgrosvek and Merlin won Fringe First Awards at the Edinburgh Festivals in 1993 and 1994.

Our Class is directed by Bijan Sheibani, whose work includes The Brothers Size at the Young Vic and Gone Too Far! at the Royal Court, which won a Laurence Olivier Award last year.

Dates have also been confirmed for Mark Ravenhill’s adaptation of Terry Prachett’s Nation, which will play in the Olivier theatre from 11 November, with a press night on 24 November.

Melly Still (Coram Boy, The Revenger’s Tragedy) directs Gary Carr and Emily Taaffe in this Lord Of The Flies style-story in which two teenagers from very different worlds must learn to survive on a South Pacific island after a tsunami changes their lives.

Following on from short early-evening runs of Pinter’s Landscape and A Slight Ache last year, the National Theatre is to stage two more works at 18:00 this summer. Caryl Churchill’s Three Sleepless Nights runs from 30 July to 27 August, with a cast of Lindsey Coulson, Ian Hart, Hattie Morahan and Paul Ready, and a monologue adapted from Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel Lolita plays for three performances only on 7, 14 and 21 September.

The National also continues NT Live, its new initiative to screen live performances of plays into cinemas, with Marianne Elliott’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well, which is currently playing in repertoire. On 1 October the performance will be screened live and broadcast to 70 cinemas across the UK, following the inaugural screening of Phedre, due to take place on 25 June.

CB

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