Preview: National Theatre, Winter/Spring 2007

Works by Beckett and Brecht feature prominently in the National Theatre’s recently announced winter/spring 2007 line-up.

Now she is no longer banned from producing his work by the estate of Samuel Beckett (as recently discussed in an interview in the Guardian), director Deborah Warner will be teaming up with Fiona Shaw for a production of Happy Days, set to run in the Lyttelton for 31 performances only from 18 January.

Warner and Shaw have a long and prestigious collaborative history, having worked together on Richard II and The Powerbook at the National as well as on Medea and Hedda Gabler in the West End, and an international tour of The Waste Land. Beckett’s 1960 play was the first work to be performed in the Lyttleton when it opened in 1976.

A second festive run is planned for Melly Still’s pitch black adaptation of Jamilia Gavin’sCoram Boy in the Olivier, from December to February. This will be followed by Nicholas Hytner’s new production of George Etherege’s The Man of Mode, set to star, amongst others Nancy Carroll (recently seen in the National’s excellent revival The Voysey Inheritance) and the Rory Kinnear. Etherege’s Restoration Comedy depicts a London where people are obsessed with having it all including each other.

A new play is scheduled for the Cottesloe in February. Nicholas Wright’s The Reporter is based on the last decade in the life of BBC correspondent James Mossman and examines the reasons behind his suicide. Due to be directed by Richard Eyre, the play’s cast will include Ben Chaplin, Paul Ritter and Angela Thorne, with Chaplin taking the role of Mossman. Nicholas Wright’s recent work at the National includes Vincent in Brixton (also directed by Eyre) as well as adaptations of His Dark Materials, Three Sisters and Thrse Raquin.

Later in 2007, Katie Mitchell (whose recent production of The Seagull received some of the most divisive reviews of any production this year) is set to direct Martin Crimp’s Attempts On Her Life: 17 scenarios for the theatre, the first major UK revival since its Royal Court premier ten years ago. The production also marks the unrolling of the National’s commendable Travelex 10 season to the Lyttleton previously the subsidised tickets have only been Olivier productions. The 2007 Travalex season will also include Sizwe Bande Is Dead by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, an international production coming to the National from the Baxter Theatre Centre, South Africa. This landmark work of African Theatre will play in the Lyttleton for a limited run from 19 March to 4 April.

In March, the Cottesloe will play host an NT Education mobile production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle in a version by Frank McGuinness. The production will have a limited run in the National’s smallest space following a tour of then UK, and will be directed by Sean Holmes, in collaboration with the theatre collective, Filter, a company renowned for their unique fusion of music, movement and video imagery.

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