Afterlife, a play by Michael Frayn tells the story of Max Reinhardt. One of the greatest impresarios of theatrical history, Reinhardt had a lifelong ambition – to dissolve the boundary between theatre and the world it portrays. Each year at the Salzburg festival he directed a famous morality play, Everyman, about God sending Death to summon a representative of mankind for judgment. The victim he chooses is a man who, like Reinhardt, rejoices in his wealth and all the pleasures that money can buy.
Then in 1938 Hitler declares his own day of reckoning and sends Death into Austria – whereupon Reinhardt, a Jew, is left as naked and vulnerable as Everyman himself. Michael Frayn’s Afterlife is the story of how Reinhardt achieves his great ambition; though in a way he can scarcely have foreseen.
Afterlife at the National Lyttelton stars Roger Allam, David Burke, Abigail Cruttenden, Peter Forbes, Glyn Grain, Selina Griffiths and David Schofield.
Roger Allam, in the role of Reinhardt, was last seen at the National Theatre in Michael Frayn's Democracy. Michael Frayn's other recent productions at the National were Copenhagen and Noises Off.
For more information about Afterlife at the National, read our First Night Feature.