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Hare’s Gethsemane leads National Theatre autumn/winter

Published 18 August 2008

Award-winning actress Tamsin Greig will make her National Theatre debut when she leads the cast of David Hare’s new play Gethsemane, which opens at the National in November.

Joining Gethsemane and the previously announced Tony award-winning August: Osage County in the National Theatre’s autumn/winter season are Samuel Adamson’s new play Mrs Affleck, directed by Marianne Elliott, and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour by Tom Stoppard and André Previn.

Gethsemane, which also stars Anthony Calf, Jessica Raine, Daniel Ryan, Stanley Townsend and Nicola Walker, opens at the National’s Cottesloe theatre on 11 November, following previews from 4 November. Set amid the world of modern political fundraising, Gethsemane explores the way in which business, media and politics are intertwined to nobody’s advantage.

Hare, one of Britain’s most lauded political playwrights, has had thirteen plays previously premiered at the National Theatre, among them Stuff Happens, The Permanent Way, Amy’s View and Pravda.

Greig is best known for her comic roles on television series including Green Wing, Love Soup and Black Books. On stage she recently appeared in Yasmina Reza’s God Of Carnage and won a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Also premiering in the Cottesloe is Adamson’s new play Mrs Affleck, inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf. Mrs Affleck debuts in the National Theatre’s smallest auditorium on 27 January, following previews from 20 January.

A tale of obsessive love, Adamson’s play sees the eponymous Mrs Affleck left alone with her crippled boy for six lonely weeks. The return of her husband Alfred, however, is not marked by a passionate reunion but by the appearance of Alfred’s possessive half-sister and a revelatory announcement.

The cast of Mrs Affleck includes Claire Skinner, Naomi Frederick and Angus Wright, while direction comes from Marianne Elliott, whose other productions for the National include Harper Regan, Saint Joan, Pillars Of The Community and War Horse, which also returns this autumn.

Elliott’s co-director on War Horse and fellow Associate Director at the National Theatre, Tom Morris, co-directs Stoppard and Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour when it opens in the Olivier theatre on 16 January (previews from 12 January). Morris’s collaborator on this production is Felix Barrett of site-specific theatre company Punchdrunk.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour revolves around two inmates in an asylum. One is a dissident who will be released if he admits that he was ill and is now cured. The other believes he is surrounded by an orchestra. Darkly humorous and provocative, Stoppard’s play asks if denying the truth is a price worth paying for liberty.

In addition to its yet-to-be-announced cast, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour will also feature the Southbank Sinfonia, a young professional orchestra created to support promising performers who have recently graduated from music college.

Tony Award-winning drama August: Osage County, which the National Theatre previously confirmed would premiere on the South Bank later this year, has revealed its autumn dates. Tracy Letts’s play opens on 26 November (following previews from 21 November).

Gethsemane, August: Osage County, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and Mrs Affleck join a packed autumn/winter repertoire at the National Theatre, which also includes Oedipus, in-i, To Be Straight With You, The Walworth Farce, Landscape and A Slight Ache, The Pitmen Painters, Some Trace Of Her, Her Naked Skin, De Profundis, The Year Of Magical Thinking and War Horse.

MA

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