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Nick Payne and RSC set for Royal Court

Published 30 April 2014

The Royal Court has announced a season of short summer runs for its intimate Jerwood Theatre Upstairs space including Nick Payne’s one-man show The Art Of Dying and four new plays to be presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Art Of Dying, which Constellations playwright Payne first performed at the Royal Court as part of 2013’s six week festival The Big Idea: Death In Open Court, will play from 1 to 12 July.

Reuniting director Michael Longhurst with Payne following their collaborations on Constellations and the Broadway production of If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, The Art Of Dying is described as mixing fact and fiction to tell the story of a son dealing with death, dying and the deceased.

The one-man show will be followed from 15 to 17 July by the transfer of four plays by playwrights Timberlake Wertenbaker, Alice Birch, E V Crowe and Abi Zakarian. Continuing the Sloane Square venue’s recent tradition of bringing the work of other companies to its stages, the plays were first performed as part of the RSC’s Midsummer Mischief festival at the famous institution’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon when each writer was asked to respond to the provocation that “well behaved women seldom make history”.

Playing as two double bills, the Erica Whyman-directed The Ant And The Cicada (by Wertenbaker) and Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again will play on 15 and 17 July. The first asks searching questions about the economics of our world through the lives of two very different sisters, while the latter explores the forces acting on women in the 21st century and the ways in which we can blow them to pieces and start again.

Crowe’s I Can Hear You, which looks at a family that experiences a supernatural visit from a relative a week after his funeral, and Zakarian’s ferocious drama about the absurdity at the heart of modern womanhood, This Is Not An Exit, will play on 16 and 17 July under the direction of actor and director Jo McInnes.

The cast for the eclectic quadruple offering includes Robert Boulter, John Bowe, Scarlett Brookes, Ruth Gemmell, Julie Legrand and Mimi Ndiweni.

Rounding up the season of short runs is the premiere of Monkey Bars playwright Chris Goode’s newest play Men In The Cities, which will play on 25 and 26 July.

Tackling the stories of two violent deaths – the apparently inexplicable suicide of a young gay man, and the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich in May 2013 – Men In The Cities is a challenging work about harm and complicity, and about the forces that shape our relationships.

Described as “an incendiary piece of experimental storytelling”, the Wendy Hubbard-directed production will run at the Royal Court ahead of its summer run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The newly announced productions will follow two forthcoming shows into the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs: Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Khandan (Family) and Tim Crouch’s Adler & Gibb.

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