The Ustinov Studio, Bath Announces Autumn Season
The Ustinov Studio, Bath is delighted to announce its Autumn 2014 season, which will comprise three black comedies from some of the greatest names in European drama: Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Play Strindberg, Florian Zeller's The Father and Eugène Ionesco's Exit the King.
The season, especially commissioned by the Ustinov Studio, will bring together some of the UK's finest directors and translators to present three original and compelling plays, the first two of which are UK premieres. Greg Hicks will star in Play Strindberg. Further casting for the season will be announced shortly.
PLAY STRINDBERG by Friedrich Dürrenmatt in a new translation by Alistair Beaton
Thursday 11th September - Saturday 11th October
Directed by Nancy Meckler
The 25-year marriage of Alice, a resting actress, and Edgar, an old soldier, would be perfect - if they didn't want each other dead. The vicious cat and mouse games they play on the desolate island outpost which is their home, are interrupted by the arrival of Alice's cousin, and former lover, Kurt.
In Dürrenmatt's gleefully spiteful black comedy, written in 1968, he takes the characters and situations from August Strindberg's classic, The Dance of Death, and transposes the brutally funny sparring to a boxing ring.
Greg Hicks is one of the UK's leading classical actors. He has worked extensively for the National Theatre and the RSC, for whom he recently played King Lear. He won the 2003 Critics' Circle Award for his performance as Coriolanus at The Old Vic, and also received an Olivier Best Actor nomination for this role.
Translator Alistair Beaton is regarded as Britain's leading writer of political satire, with credits across theatre, television, radio and publishing. His revised translation of Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo UI recently played at the Duchess Theatre in London's West End. He also wrote the West End hit, Feel Good, which won the Evening Standard Best Comedy Award in 2001. His other plays include: Caledonia (Edinburgh International Festival), King of Hearts (Hampstead Theatre), and Follow My Leader (Birmingham Rep / Hampstead). His other translations include: The Government Inspector (Chichester Festival Theatre) and The Arsonists (Royal Court).
Director Nancy Meckler was Artistic Director of Shared Experience for 22 years where she directed the award-winning productions of Anna Karenina and War and Peace. She was the first female director at the National Theatre where she worked on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? . She has also worked extensively with the RSC.
20th century master Friedrich Dürrenmatt is best-known for The Visit, which won the New York Drama Critics Award as the best foreign play in 1958. He also wrote the satirical drama, The Physicists in 1962.
Designed by Max Jones and Ruth Hall; lighting designed by Tina MacHugh; sound designed by Andrea J. Cox.
THE FATHER by Florian Zeller in a new translation by Christopher Hampton
Thursday 16th October - Saturday 15th November
Directed by James MacDonald
Now 80 years old, Andre was once a tap dancer. He lives with his daughter Anne and her husband Antoine. Or was he an engineer whose daughter Anne lives in London with her new lover, Pierre? The thing is, he is still wearing his pyjamas, and he can't find his watch. He is starting to wonder if he's losing control.
Hailed by The Independent as "one of the hottest literary talents in France", Florian Zeller wrote this intriguing and compelling black comedy in 2012. The Father (Le Père) is the winner of the 2014 Moliere Award for Best Play. Zeller's other plays include: Si Tu Mourais (If You Were To Die), La Mere (The Mother) and La Verite (The Truth).
Christopher Hampton's own work includes: The Philanthropist, Savages, Tales From Hollywood and Les Liaisons Dangereuse. He has translated plays by Ibsen, Molière, Chekhov and Yasmina Reza (including Art and Life x 3). He won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Dangerous Liaisons and was also nominated for this award for his adaption of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement. For television, he has adapted The History Man and Hotel du Lac. His recent stage translations include Odon Von Horvath's Youth Without God, Theater in der Josefstadt, Vienna and Judgement Day at the Almeida Theatre.
James Macdonald has worked extensively off Broadway where he was recently the winner of the 2014 Obie Award for Best Director for Love and Information. He was Associate Director of the Royal Court from 1992 to 2007 and his credits include Cock, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, the European and US tours of Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis, Exiles at the National Theatre, and Glengarry Glen Ross in the West End.
EXIT THE KING by Eugène Ionesco in a new translation by Jeremy Sams
Thursday 20th November - Saturday 20th December
Directed by Laurence Boswell
The once great King Berenger the First is 400 years old, on his last legs and ruling over a decaying kingdom. Now the party is over and the end is nigh.
In his youth he reigned over millions of subjects, battled thousands of enemies, single-handedly split the atom and invented the car. He even controlled the weather. But now the heater is broken, the cows have stopped producing milk and the sun is late. While his two queens bicker about whether he should be made aware of his imminent demise, it is clear that Berenger won't surrender without a fight. But the fact is, this is the last day of his life and the end of the play could mean the end of everything.
"Plays out in real time, like an existentialist episode of 24" Guardian
Ionesco's darkly hilarious and sparklingly witty comedy makes fun of all the things that tragedy usually takes seriously.
"Ionesco's incomparably greatest work" New York Times
Eugène Ionesco was one of the greatest innovators in European drama. His incomparable works include The Chairs, Rhinoceros and The Bald Soprano and he influenced a generation of playwrights.
Translator Jeremy Sams is an award-winning director, writer, translator, orchestrator, musical director, film composer and lyricist. His many translations include Les Parents Terribles, The Miser and Mary Stuart for the National theatre and The Threepenny Opera for the Donmar Warehouse.
Director Laurence Boswell is the Artistic Director of the Ustinov Studio where his seasons of UK premieres have received huge national acclaim. He is a multi award-winning director who has directed a number of hits in the West End and on Broadway. He was also Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill. He is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.