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As Is - casting announced

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CASTING has been announced for William M. Hoffman’s As Is, which runs at Finborough Theatre from August 8 (previews from August 6) to August 31, 2013.

The line up includes Jordon Bernarde (Brother and other roles), Tom Colley (Rich), John Hastings (Marty and other roles), Tom Kay (Chet and other roles), Clare Kissane (Hospice Worker and other roles), David Poynor (Saul), Paul Standell (Pat and other roles) and Anna Tierney (Lily and other roles).

Previously Posted: Arion Productions Ltd in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre is presenting the first London production in more than 25 years of William M. Hoffman’s As Is.

Directed by multi award-winning director Andrew Keates, it runs at Finborough Theatre from August 8 (previews from August 6) to August 31, 2013.

Sometimes I’m so scared I go back on my resolutions: I drink too much, and I smoke a joint, and I find myself at the bars and clubs, where I stand around and watch. They remind me of accounts of Europe during the Black Plague: groping in the dark, dancing till you drop. The New Wave is the corpse look. I’m very frightened and I miss you. Say something, damn it.

As Is is set in the New York City of 1985, where Rich, a young writer who is beginning to find success, is breaking up with his longtime lover, Saul, a professional photographer. However, Rich’s idyll with his new lover is short-lived when he learns that he has contracted the terrifying new disease AIDS and he returns to Saul for sanctuary as he awaits its slow and awful progress.

As Is was a revolutionary and groundbreaking play of its time, and remains still urgently relevant – the number of gay and bisexual men being diagnosed with HIV in the UK reached an “all-time high” in 2011 (figures from the Health Protection Agency).

As Is was the winner of the Obie and Drama Desk Awards, one of Time Magazine’s ‘Best Plays of the Year’ and nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. It was originally produced Off-Broadway by the Circle Repertory Company in 1985, and subsequently transferred to Broadway. It was televised in 1986, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. It now receives its first London production since the 1987 UK premiere at the Half Moon Theatre.

Andrew Keates, founder and artistic director of Arion Productions Ltd, will be directing his third production at the Finborough Theatre following ROOMS – A Rock Romance, and last year’s sell-out production of Passing By by Martin Sherman. Most recently, he directed and developed the award-winning professional world premiere of A Winter’s Tale, written by Howard Goodall, Nick Stimson and himself.

Playwright William M. Hoffman was born in New York in 1939. His many other works include both plays and opera libretti including the libretto for The Ghosts of Versailles, commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera Company, in celebration of the company’s centenary, and the 1993 television version starring Teresa Stratas and Renée Fleming which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.

As Is is designed by Philip Lindley. Casting has yet to be announced.

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/.