HOME to Present Major UK Revival of ROSE Starring Dame Janet Suzman
From her home in Miami, USA, eighty-year-old Rose takes us on a journey through her long and tumultuous life, a life marked by oppression, displacement, suffering and survival. A life which begins in the shtetls of Eastern Europe and continues through Nazi-occupied Poland, British Mandate Palestine, America, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. An epic in miniature, Rose tells the extraordinary story of a century - with warmth and humour - directly through the eyes of one remarkable woman.
As the current refugee crisis engulfs Europe, as America closes its doors to refugees, and as racism, xenophobia and nationalism are resurgent across the globe, this revival of Rose is extremely topical and timely.
Janet Suzman commented: "This anarchic, agnostic tearaway got to me when I read Martin Sherman's terrific play. Rose's ironical self-awareness, her independence of spirit, her fierce instinct for survival is the story we all want to hear about the human spirit at its bravest. In the end she finds a moral purpose to a life forged in an immoral world. I salute Rose and her like."
Richard Beecham added: "Rose strikes me as a play for our times. Written on the cusp of the millennium as an epitaph to the 20th century, this play about the refugee experience, about anti-Semitism and xenophobia, about the conflict in Israel/Palestine, about America as a safe haven for the persecuted, looks forward to our 21st century world in a frighteningly prescient way. It does so with real insight, bravura storytelling and a mordant sense of humour and I am delighted to be working with the extraordinary Janet Suzman to bring Rose alive for audiences today."
Suzman has enjoyed a successful career starting at the Royal Shakespeare Company, culminating in a memorable Cleopatra in 1973/4. Her performance as Empress Alexandra in Nicholas and Alexandra (1972) earned both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. Suzman has starred in a wide range of work including plays by Fugard, Pinter, Ibsen, Chekhov, Harwood, and has twice been the recipient of the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress. She directed a ground-breaking Othello in her native South Africa, and has worked with Potter, Fellini, Greenaway and Palcy on film amongst others. Suzman last appeared on the stage in two new post-apartheid plays, both by South Africans: The Dream of the Dog by Craig Higginson (ex-dramaturg of The Market Theatre) transferred to Trafalgar Studios from the Finborough Theatre, and Solomon and Marion, written by Lara Foot Newton, Artistic Director of The Baxter Theatre Cape Town, which toured South Africa and then Washington DC before a sell-out run at The Print Room. Rose is directed by Richard Beecham, whose production of Arthur Miller's rarely performed Holocaust epic, Playing for Time (2015), starring Dame Sian Phillips at the Sheffield Crucible, garnered rave reviews. As well as directing for the theatre, Beecham recently won the Pears Short Film Award for his debut film, The Guitar, which premiered at the London Jewish Film Festival in 2015.
Martin Sherman is an award-winning author whose plays have been produced in more than 55 countries and who has been nominated for two Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and two BAFTA awards. His Tony nominated play Bent opened at the Royal Court and transferred to the West End starring Ian McKellen, before going on to Broadway starring Richard Gere. Other West End plays include Messiah, When She Danced, A Madhouse in Goa and a new version of Pirandello's Absolutely! (Perhaps).
There will be a post-show discussion with Janet Suzman and Richard Beecham on Thu 8 Jun, included in ticket price.
Directed by Richard Beecham
Designed by Simon Kenny
Lighting Design by Chris Davey
To coincide with Rose, in collaboration with Outside the Frame Arts, HOME will present a play reading of acclaimed Palestinian writer Ahmed Masoud's satirical play, The Shroud Maker, which, like Rose, tells a woman's story of survival through modern history. Hajja Souad, an 80-year old Palestinian woman living on the besieged Gaza Strip, knows how to make business. She has survived decades of wars, deportation and oppression through making shrouds for the dead. A compelling black comedy, The Shroud Maker delves deep into the intimate life of ordinary Palestinians to weave a highly distinctive path through Palestine's turbulent past and present. Fri 9 Jun, 19:00, followed by a Q&A with Ahmed Masoud.