Michael Grandage, the Artistic Director of the much-acclaimed Donmar Warehouse, makes his National Theatre directorial debut with Georg Buchner’s Danton’s Death, in a new version by Howard Brenton.
It is 1794 and the French Revolution is reaching its climax. After a series of bloody purges, the life-loving, volatile Danton is tormented by his part in the killing. His political rival, the driven, ascetic Robespierre, decides Danton’s fate. A titanic struggle begins. Once friends who wanted to change the world, now one stands for compromise, the other for ideological purity, as the guillotine awaits.
A revolutionary himself, Buchner was 21 when he wrote the play in 1835 while hiding from the police.
Toby Stephens makes his National Theatre debut as Danton. Stephens’s countless stage roles include A Doll’s House and Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse, The Country Wife at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He comes to the National after playing the lead role in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing at the Old Vic.