Haydon presents Aftermath at Gate

Published July 20, 2012

The Gate theatre will follow its current Resist! season with Aftermath, an exploration of the impact of conflict told through two very different plays directed by the venue’s Artistic Director Christopher Haydon.

While the Resist! season has focused on rebels and revolutionaries, Aftermath will look at the damage inflicted post war with a new adaptation of Euripides’ The Trojan Women by Caroline Bird and the UK premiere of Bruce Norris’ Purple Heart.

Euripides’ famous tragedy will play from 8 November to 15 December and is described as a “caustic and radical” adaptation by Bird, an award-winning poet.

Set in the city of Troy, the war is over and beyond the prison walls, its people burn. Inside the prison, the city’s captive women await their fate. Stalking the antiseptic confines of its mother and baby unit is Hecuba, the fallen Trojan queen. But her grief at what has been before will soon be drowned out by the horror of what is to come, as the Greek lust for vengeance consumes everything – man, woman and baby – in its path.

Purple Heart moves the action to 1972 in a city somewhere in the American Midwest. Written by the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of Clybourne Park, the play centres on Carla who is trying to rebuild her life following her husband’s death in Vietnam. Now, under the watchful eye of her mother in law, she must raise her young son whilst struggling to avoid the morbid sympathy of her local community. But everything changes when an unexpected and mysterious soldier arrives on her doorstep.

Described as a deeply moving meditation on love, loss and grief, Purple Heart makes its UK debut from 28 February to 6 April.

Explaining his thematic decision, Haydon said: “My opening season, which focussed on rebels and revolutionaries, sparked many questions for us – in the main, how does the human spirit survive when the world around it splinters? From here the Aftermath season was born. Revolutions are traumatic and, as can be seen currently in Syria, they can easily spill over in to all out conflict. So it is war – or more specifically the destruction that a war leaves in its wake – that we will be tackling in two very different ways in the new season.”