House On The Hill to Present Inge's NATURAL AFFECTION in UK Premiere at Jermyn Street, July 17
This July, House On The Hill Productions presents the UK premiere of a blistering drama by one of the great US playwrights of the late twentieth-century
Christmas 1962, Chicago, small apartment... Unconventional couple, Sue and Bernie, are awaiting the impending visit of Sue's delinquent son Donnie with excitement and trepidation. When Donnie makes an unexpected announcement, tensions between the already strained family relationships grow and competition between the two men threatens to destroy the life that Sue has worked so hard to create. On Christmas Eve when the next-door neighbours join the party, tensions escalate resulting in an inescapable and horrific showdown.
Natural Affection flips the American Dream on its head. A complex, dark and anguished study of discordant family life, William Inge's lost treasure explores the themes of sexual dissatisfaction, loneliness, frustrated small-town dreams, alcoholism and tortured identity. The work has never before seen in the United Kingdom. This lost treasure by an American Icon has, in the playwright's own words, "been contested, praised, disputed, and criticized." Inspired by the violence Inge was witnessing in the media at the time, Natural Affection retains the power to shock and is as resonant today as it was when it was first produced over fifty year's ago.
William Inge (1913-1973) is known as "playwright of the American Midwest". He earned the title of most promising playwright of the 1950 Broadway Season for his play, Come Back, Little Sheba which was later to be made into a film by Paramount Pictures starring Shirley Booth and Don Lancaster. In 1953, he won a Pulitzer Prize, The Drama Critic Circle Award, The Outer Circle Award and The Theatre Club Award for his play, Picnic, which also later became a film by Columbia Pictures starring William Holden, Kim Novak and Rosalind Russell. His other plays include, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and Bus Stop which achieved international recognition when Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray and Eileen Heckart starred in the Academy Award winning 1957 movie.
Natural Affection will be director Grace Wessels' first production at Jermyn Street Theatre. She has a BA in Drama from Bristol University, and is Artistic Director of House on the Hill. Her recent work includes, The Alchemist (The Rose, Bankside), Dido, Queen of Carthage (The Rose, Bankside), King Lear (The Rose, Bankside), Taming (Tobacco Factory Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (The Alma Tavern). She is currently the Company Manager of Primavera Productions, and is a Literary Associate and Assistant to the Theatre Manager at Jermyn Street Theatre. She was the Artistic Director of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival for 3 years and also was a Guest Judge for the BBC Programme, Off By Heart Shakespeare.
By William Inge
Directed by Grace Wessels
Set Design by Victoria Johnstone
Costume Design by Emily Stuart
Lighting by Steve Lowe
Jermyn Street Theatre is located at 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6ST. Press night is 17 July 7.30PM. Box office: 020 7287 2875 or book online at www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk. Performances play Monday-Saturday 7:30 pm. and Saturday 3:30 pm. Tickets: £20, £18 concessions; Earlybird Offer - all tickets £17 if booked before 21 June; Special Friends Night Offer - Tickets for Friends Night on Wednesday 30 July only £16 (only available with a Jermyn Street Theatre Friends Membership).