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In rehearsal: The El. Train

Published 27 November 2013

While many of us are thinking of lurid lighting and brightly coloured wrapping paper, in Hoxton Ruth Wilson and co are heading to a darker place.

Turn of the 20th century New York, to be precise, as this is the setting for The El.Train, a trio of one-act Eugene O’Neill plays presented together for the first time in a show that also features a live ragtime/jazz band.

Being staged at the Hoxton Hall from 6 to 30 December, the production draws together The Web, Before Breakfast and The Dreamy Kid, the latter featuring Olivier Award-winning actress Wilson making her directorial debut. Wilson, who counts Luther, Small Island and Jane Eyre among her screen credits, appears in the other two plays, when she will be directed by Sam Yates.

Far from a simple staging, the production hopes to draw audiences into its world, following each performance with a night of hard liquor and live music at the Hell Hole Saloon. Modelled on O’Neill’s own New York bar of choice, the Golden Swan, which appeared in The Iceman Cometh as the No Chance Saloon, this refuge for ruffians, low-lives and post-theatre conversationalists will feature its own cocktail menu inspired by pre-prohibition cocktails.

While we’ve not yet seen this atmospheric drinking establishment, photographer Poppaea Bicknell was allowed to join the rehearsals to capture the cast in action.

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