The Vertical Hour, David Hare’s latest play, which premiered on Broadway last year, will have its first UK outing at the Royal Court in January, with Indira Varma heading the cast.
The Vertical Hour pits personal philosophies against global politics as it follows Nadia Blye, a former war reporter and Professor of International Relations at Yale, who has advised the President and seen action in Sarajevo and Baghdad. Nadia knows exactly what her stance is on Iraq and is sure of her place in the world. Until, that is, she meets an equally opinionated and lethally charming man – her boyfriend’s father – during a weekend in Shropshire. His intervention has far-reaching consequences for them all.
Nadia is played by Varma, who has been seen on television in The Whistleblowers, Rome, Torchwood and Love Soup. Her London stage credits include The Vortex at the Donmar in 2002, Remembrance Of Things Past and Ivanov at the National, The Skin Of Their Teeth at the Young Vic and Five Gold Rings at the Almeida in 2003. She was last at the Royal Court in 2000 in The Country.
The production is directed by Jeremy Herrin, who directed Polly Stenham’s That Face at the Royal Court earlier this year and is to direct Kwame Kwei-Armah’s new play Statement Of Regret at the National this month.
The Broadway premiere production of Hare’s play, which ran from November 2006 to March this year, was directed by Sam Mendes and starred Julianne Moore as Nadia and Bill Nighy as the charming Oliver. It was the first time one of Hare’s plays had premiered on Broadway. The playwright has had a long association with the National Theatre, which has premiered many of his plays, including Plenty, Pravda, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence Of War, Skylight, Amy’s View, The Permanent Way and Stuff Happens. The Royal Court has produced My Zinc Bed, Via Dolorosa, Teeth ‘N’ Smiles and Slag, while other high profile productions of Hare's work have included The Blue Room, his adaptation of Schnitzler’s La Ronde for the Donmar Warehouse in 1998 starring Nicole Kidman, The Breath Of Life, starring Maggie Smith and Judi Dench at the Haymarket in 2002, and Felicity Kendal in a revival of Amy’s View at the Garrick last year.
The Vertical Hour runs in the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 17 January to 1 March 2008, with a press night on 22 January.