Danny Lee Wynter, Tom Varey & Joseph Quinn Lead Jean Genet's DEATHWATCH at the Print Room
The full cast is announced for the final production in the Coronet's spring season, DEATHWATCH, from April 11 to May 7. This new Print Room production of Jean Genet's powerful and provocative first play, in a translation by David Rudkin, marks its first major revival in almost 30 years. Deathwatch stars Danny Lee Wynter, Joseph Quinn, Tom Varey and Emma Naomi, and is directed by Geraldine Alexander, who received critical acclaim for the direction of her own play, Amygdala, at The Print Room's former space in 2013. The Coronet is also working with playwright David Rudkin on complementary activity around the production.
Three young convicts share a cell. Locked into a world of dangerous rivalries, two young criminals, Lefranc and Maurice, compete for the attention of the charismatic condemned man, Green-Eyes.
Jean Genet, writer of The Maids, was one of the most prominent and daring writers of the 20th century. Described by Simone de Beauvoir as "a thug of a genius", he was an essayist, novelist, political activist and playwright. Deathwatch was last presented in London in 1987 in a major production by the Royal Shakespeare Company. David Rudkin, whose plays include Ashes and Afore Night Come, provided the specially commissioned translation, which Print Room at the Coronet is now reviving.
Playwright David Rudkin has written a series of new dramatic works inspired by specific locations around the UK. Described as Place Prints, these remarkable pieces give voice to a presence that haunts a location, a story that wishes to imprint itself on a place. Nottingham-based theatre company New Perspectives are now collaborating with Rudkin to present these works around the country in celebration of his 80th year. Four of these new works - River, of Course, Grim's Ditch, To The Waters and the Wild, and Where There Is No More Sea - will be heard for the first time at the Coronet on April 20-21. Delivered post-performance of Deathwatch, these works will be staged in the Coronet's studio space with live music, read by a special cast directed by New Perspectives artistic director Jack McNamara.
Danny Lee Wynter plays Lefranc. Danny's extensive theatre credits include The Glass Menagerie (Nuffield Southampton), Much Ado About Nothing (The Old Vic), Bedlam, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, King Lear and The Frontline (all Shakespeare's Globe), and The Changing Room (Royal Court Theatre). Television credits include Stephen Poliakoff's Joe's Palace and Capturing Mary, Partners in Crime, Holby City, Episodes, Beat Girl and Luther, and on film, Hot Fuzz. Danny is a founder of the campaigning group, Act for Change.
Joseph Quinn plays Maurice. Joseph graduated from LAMDA in 2015, and Deathwatch is his professional stage debut. Television credits include Dickensian and Postcode.
Tom Varey plays Green-Eyes. Tom graduated from RADA in 2014, and his professional theatre credits include One Arm (Southwark Playhouse), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse); and for television, No Offence and The Village.
Emma Naomi plays The Watch. Emma graduated from Guildhall in 2015. Theatre credits include The Crucible (Bristol Old Vic) and she recently played the lead in feature film House Girl.
Geraldine Alexander is an actor, writer and director, and this will be her second production for the Print Room, following Amygdala, which was successfully presented at the Print Room's former venue in 2013. Her acting credits on stage include Fabrication at The Print Room, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Pillars of the Community and Strange Interlude at the National Theatre, Holy Warriors and Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare's Globe, Fall at the Traverse Theatre, Neil Bartlett's adaptation of The Maids, and State of Emergency at the Gate. Extensive television credits include Shetland, Any Human Heart, The Government Inspector, Silent Witness, Dance to the Music of Time and Poirot. Writing work includes Amygdala, a reading of My Mother's Skin, directed by Marianne Elliot at the National Studio, and she is co-writing a TV series Running with Georgia Pritchett, a feature film Utterly Oyster and an adaptation of Iris Murdoch's novel The Book and the Brotherhood. Directing credits include Weisman and Copperface at the RSC Festival.
Jean Genet (1910-1986) was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist and political activist, and is considered to be one of the most controversial writers of the twentieth century. Described by Simone de Beauvoir as a "thug of a genius", he moved from a life as a vagabond and petty criminal to a successful career as a writer. In 1943, after being imprisoned for theft, Genet began writing. Ignoring traditional plot and psychology, Genet's plays rely heavily on ritual, transformation, illusion and interchangeable identities. His experiences in prison would inform much of his work, and the homosexuals, prostitutes, thieves and outcasts of his plays are trapped in self-destructive circles. His major works include the plays The Balcony, The Blacks, The Maids, The Screens, Elle and Splendid's and the novels Querelle of Brest, The Thief's Journal, Our Lady of the Flowers, Miracle of the Rose and Funeral Rites.
David Rudkin is a stage and TV dramatist, screenwriter, opera librettist and translator, primarily of Greek Tragedy and Ibsen. He has worked for over 50 years in a wide range of genres. Among his prize-winning works are stage plays Afore Night Come (1962) and Ashes (1974), the films Testimony on the life of Shostakovich (1987), the Irish classic December Bride (1989), and the radio play The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock (1993). The Observer has described him as Britain's 'greatest living dramatic poet'. His most recent publications include two stage plays, Red Sun and Merlin Unchained, and translations of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, Rosmersholm and When We Dead Awaken. Among his current projects are collections of novellas and short stories, a radio play Macedonia, and a completion, at its author's deathbed request, of the unfinished last play of John Arden.
Lee Newby is a set and costume designer. Theatre design credits include Stay Awake, Jake (The Vaults), Grand Hotel and Dogfight (Southwark Playhouse) and Ignis (Print Room). Associate designer credits include Michael Grandage's productions of Hughie (Booth Theatre, NY), Photograph 51, Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Cripple Of Inishmaan, Peter And Alice, Privates On Parade (Noel Coward Theatre); A Damsel In Distress (Chichester Festival Theatre), Carousel (Lyric Opera of Chicago / Houston Grand Opera), Wolf Hall Parts One & Two (RSC / Aldwych Theatre / Winter Gardens), Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth (Manchester International Festival / Park Avenue Armory, NY). Future associate work includes Romeo and Juliet (Garrick Theatre), Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (Wyndham's theatre).
Lighting design is by David Plater. David was previously head of lighting at the Donmar Warehouse, and has been Resident Lighting Designer for Ballet Black since their formation in 2001. David's nominations for design include Olivier, Tony, and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Lighting Design for Bring Up The Bodies (Winter Gardens Broadway, Aldwych, West End); Knight of Illumination Award for Richard II (Best Play Lighting) in 2012 and for This is My Family (Best Musical Lighting) in 2013. Extensive lighting designs include The Mentalists (Wyndham's), The Cocktail Party and Terra (Print Room), The Glass Supper (Hampstead), Billy Liar (Manchester Royal Exchange), Richard III and Twelfth Night, Roger Rees: What You Will, and 13 The Musical (Apollo Theatre), Richard II, Four Quartets, and Three Days of Rain (Donmar Warehouse), Loyal Women (Royal Court Theatre Downstairs), Macbeth (Sheffield Crucible), Mrs Lowry & Son, The Silence of the Sea, and Stacy/Fanny & Faggot (Trafalgar Studios), and The Chair Plays, Lyric Hammersmith.
Simon Slater is an Olivier-nominated composer (Constellations, Royal Upstairs/Duke of Yorks West End) and has composed over 300 original scores for TV, film, theatre and radio, including scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the BBC, Channel 5 and for numerous theatres in the West End. Simon's television credits include two-hour specials of Dalziel and Pascoe (Houdini's Ghost and Demons on our Shoulders), Inquisition starring Derek Jacobi and Hunting Venus directed by Martin Clunes. Theatre work includes Constellations by Nick Payne, which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, before transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre. In 2015 Constellations premiered on Broadway and Simon received an Ivor Novello Award nomination for his score. Other theatre credits include the UK premiere of Carmen Disruption (Almeida Theatre), Neil Bartlett's Romeo and Juliet for the RSC, and Wonderland and Raving (Hampstead Theatre).
Photo credit: Marc Brenner