THERESE RAQUIN to Open at Finborough Theatre, March 25
Following the sell-out success of its workshop as part of Vibrant 2012 - A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, and as part of the Finborough Theatre's acclaimed Celebrating British Music Theatre series, the world premiere of a new musical adaptation of the classic French novel Thérèse Raquin opens at the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre for a four week run, opening Tuesday, 25 March 2014 (Press Night: Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 7.30pm), starring Julie Atherton and Olivier Award nominee Tara Hugo.
19th Century Paris. Behind the counter of a small dusty haberdasher's shop near the Seine in the dank, narrow Passage du Pont Neuf, sit Madame Raquin and her beautiful niece Thérèse whom she has married off to her sickly son Camille in a loveless match. While he is out working, Thérèse serves in the shop and the monotony is only broken on Thursday nights, when Madame plays dominoes with a strange assortment of old friends.
On one such Thursday, Camille brings a childhood friend to the party - the bluff and attractive Laurent. He inspires such an incredibly powerful passion in Thérèse that she abandons all her inhibitions and her loyalties. This brutal and overwhelming passion overturns all their lives and has results nobody could have foreseen.
In keeping with the innovative and challenging nature of the original work, this radical new musical adaptation uses music and lyrics to heighten and distil the underlying themes. It features a company of twelve who play the main roles of Thérèse, Laurent, Camille and Madame Raquin, as well as their Thursday night domino playing companions and a watchful and distrustful chorus.
Émile Zola (1840-1902) was a novelist, playwright and journalist, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in his renowned letter J'accuse. Zola was nominated for both the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.
Thérèse Raquin was Zola's first major work, originally published in serial format in 1867 the journal L'Artiste and - due to its huge and immediate popularity - in book format in 1868, gaining additional publicity when critic Louis Ulbach called the book "putrid". In 1873, Zola adapted the novel into a play, although it did not receive its London première until 1891, due to the Lord Chamberlain's censorship. Both the novel and the play have been seen in many stage, screen, television and radio adaptations including a 2013 Hollywood film.
Nona Shepphard (Book, Lyrics and Direction) began her theatrical career in her hometown as an actor at the Liverpool Playhouse, where she played in repertory for two years; she directed her first play at the Nuffield Theatre Southampton and wrote her first play when she was Associate Director at the Chester Gateway Theatre. Since then she has worked freelance as a writer, director and deviser with over 150 productions and 40 commissioned plays to her credit. Her plays have been performed in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Europe and Russia. She is an Associate Director of The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and International Consultant at the Lir Academy in Dublin.
Craig Adams (Music) is a composer, lyricist, and arranger. He was Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer at the Finborough Theatre, facilitated by Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network UK. Craig's first musical Lift, developed in association with Perfect Pitch, received its world premiere at Soho Theatre in February 2013 and is now being licensed around the world, with an Off Broadway run in November 2013 and a WhatsOnStage nomination for Best Original Score 2014. Other writing includes DEFECT (as part of Vibrant 2013 - A Festival of Finborough Playwrights at the Finborough Theatre), 101 Dalmatians (The Castle, Wellingborough), Ghosts Of The Past and The Watchers (YMT:UK), Ballet People (The Place), Battlements (Vanbrugh Theatre), Let Him Have Justice (Cochrane Theatre), Spell, The Frog Prince (Wimbledon Studio Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), Alice in Wonderland (Edinburgh Festival and tour). He is currently working an adaptation of the Terry Pratchett novel Soul Music for YMT:UK, and a dance piece based on acclaimed children's book Bob Robber and Dancing Jane entitled Shadowthief which will premiere in summer 2014. www.craigadamsmusic.com