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Punchdrunk and NT reunite for Drowned Man

Published March 21, 2013

Acclaimed theatre company Punchdrunk has teamed up with the National Theatre once again to present The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable, a new production inspired by Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck to be staged in a disused building in central London.

Punchdrunk’s first large scale theatre production since The Masque Of Red Death in 2007, The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable, which will play from 20 June to 29 September, is set in a seedy Hollywood underworld where celluloid fantasy clings to desperate realism and certainty dissolves into a hallucinatory world, as its protagonists walk the line between illusion and reality.

Based on Büchner’s tragic tale about a military barber who stabs his unfaithful wife, the production will allow audiences to step into the world of Temple Pictures, where the Hollywood system meets a forgotten hinterland filled with dreamers who exist at the fringes of the movie industry.

Talking about bringing the show to the capital, Punchdrunk’s Artistic Director Felix Barrett said: “We’ve wanted to do Woyzeck in London for many years and have finally found a building that lives up to the extraordinary atmosphere of Büchner’s masterpiece. We’re thrilled to be working with the National Theatre again whose support has been invaluable.”

Specialising in site specific promenade productions staged in unusual spaces, Punchdrunk’s last collaboration with the Southbank venue brought Faust, a piece combining Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 18th century tragedy and Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, to an abandoned warehouse in Tower Hill.

Director of the National Theatre Nicholas Hytner said: ‘Punchdrunk have provided some of my most exciting dramatic experiences over the past decade. We are delighted to be working with them again in London after a six-year gap while they wowed New York; I can’t wait to see their new theatrical adventure.”

Punchdrunk’s current production Sleep No More, a new rendition of its cult 2003 hit based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, opened to acclaim in New York in 2011, while the company’s other theatre productions include Tunnel 228, It Felt Like A Kiss, The Duchess Of Malfi and The Crash Of Elysium.

The location of The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable still remains a secret, but booking for the production opens tomorrow.