A new ensemble takes over a transformed Cottesloe Theatre this summer to present four short plays by writers new to the National Theatre: Tom Basden, Sam Holcroft, DC Moore and Prasanna Puwanarajah. A live band and a single group of performers and theatre-makers will premiere the two double-bills, directed by Polly Findlay and Lyndsey Turner, designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting by James Farncombe, sound by Carolyn Downing and fight direction by Bret Yount. The cast includes Pippa Bennett-Warner, Karina Fernandez, Trystan Gravelle, Nitin Kundra and Stephanie Street.

EDGAR & ANNABEL
by Sam Holcroft, directed by Lyndsey Turner
A young married couple prepare dinner in a smartly furnished kitchen. Annabel is composed, intelligent, in love. Edgar is professional, successful, assured. She’s chopping vegetables, he’s brought the wine. But something isn’t right. In a city not so different from our own capital, a group of freedom fighters attempt to stand up to an Orwellian establishment in increasingly perilous circumstances. Sam Holcroft’s ingenious new play paints a picture of a police state in crisis. The story that unfolds brings into question relationships, identities and the very nature of reality itself…

Sam Holcroft’s plays include Dancing Bears, part of the Charged season for Clean Break at Soho Theatre and Latitude Festival; While You Lie (Traverse, Edinburgh); Pink, part of the Women, Power and Politics Season at the Tricycle; and Cockroach, a National Theatre of Scotland and Traverse co-production, nominated for Best New Play 2008 by the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland.

THE SWAN
by DC Moore, directed by Polly Findlay
In a decaying pub in South London, preparations are being made for a wake. The beer is warm, the rain is falling, and tempers are running close to breaking point. Denise has lost a father – and Jim has missed his own son’s funeral. With only an hour before their guests arrive, a fractured family begin to settle their accounts. The ghosts of lives lived and opportunities missed are laid to rest as new and ancient betrayals are confronted and forgiven. DC Moore’s touching and very funny new play examines the ties that hold us together in a multi-cultural society.

DC Moore’s credits for the Royal Court include Alaska and The Empire, which won the TMA Award for Best Touring Production 2010 and was nominated for the Oliver Award for Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre; he was also nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2010. For television he is currently working with Great Meadow Productions/Channel 4 on an original project called Jalalabad.

NIGHTWATCHMAN
by Prasanna Puwanarajah, directed by Polly Findlay
Abirami is English. And Sri Lankan. And a professional cricketer. Tomorrow she makes her debut for England against Sri Lanka, but tonight she faces a relentless bowling machine in a one-on-one session to prepare her for the innings of her life. As the night draws on, she challenges our preconceptions of politics, sport and national pride as harshly as she challenges her own. Prasanna Puwanarajah’s new play, coarse, funny and provocative, is a vivid exploration of the search for the meaning of home.

Prasanna Puwanarajah’s work as an actor includes Emperor and Galilean, Hamlet and London Assurance at the National; Twelfth Night for the RSC; Thyestes at the Arcola (Ian Charleson Award commendation in 2009). His writing credits include the short films The Half Light which he also directed, starring David Haig, Henry Goodman and Harry Lloyd, and Clamp and Grind.

THERE IS A WAR
by Tom Basden, directed by Lyndsey Turner
In another country, in another time, civil war rages. The Blues and the Greys have been fighting each other for as long as they can remember. Soldiers, priests and scavengers roam a landscape scorched by years of battle and decay. Anne, a young medical officer, finds herself abandoned and useless, unable to locate the hospital or even the war she was promised. A journey into the dark heart of a strange and surreal conflict, Tom Basden’s miniature epic explores the mad savagery of war with biting black comedy.

Tom Basden’s plays include Joseph K at The Gate and Party! (Fringe First Award), Tom Basden Won’t Say Anything (if.comedy Best Newcomer Award) at the Edinburgh Festival and Melbourne Comedy Festival. TV includes Fresh Meat, The Best, Me and My Monsters (co-written with Sam Leifer), Armstrong and Miller, Party, Brave Young Men and Cowards. Radio includes Party (nominated for Writers Guild Award), Cowards, Comedy and Sketchzilla. With Tim Key he co-wrote the short film The One and Only Herb McGwyer Plays Wallis Island (Best British Short Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Best Overall Film at the No Spot Short Film Festival, New York; nominated for BAFTA for Best Short Film).

Polly Findlay was the winner of the JMK Award for Young Directors, and the recipient of the 2006/07 Bulldog Prinsep Bursary at the NT Studio. Directing includes Twisted Tales at Lyric Hammersmith; Honest for the Royal & Derngate Northampton, Edinburgh Festival and Soho; Light Shining in Buckinghamshire at the Arcola; The Door Never Closes at the Almeida; Eigengrau at the Bush; Short Fuses and Kick Off at Bristol Old Vic; Riz MC – MICroscope at Sadler’s Wells; Miles Away for Nabokov at Latitude; Romeo and Juliet at BAC; Good at Sound Theatre; and As You Like It at Oxford Playhouse.

Lyndsey Turner is an Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres and London’s Gate Theatre. Directing credits include My Romantic History at the Traverse, Bush and Sheffield; Posh, A Miracle and Contractions at the Royal Court; Nocturnal at The Gate Theatre; The Lesson at the Arcola; Still Breathing, Hymn and What’s Their Life Got? at Theatre 503; Dealer’s Choice at Central; and The Grace of Mary Traverse at LAMDA.

The double-bills are: EDGAR & ANNABEL / THE SWAN and NIGHTWATCHMAN / THERE IS A WAR.

DOUBLE FEATURE is suitable for 15yrs+
The production is supported by the NT’s Young Patrons; media partner i, the new concise quality newspaper.

Release issued by: National Theatre

LINKS

National Theatre website