Follow Us on Twitter

Foreign classics feature in the Donmar’s final Trafalgar season

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE DONMAR Warehouse has announced the third and final Donmar Trafalgar season and it features foreign classics by Aleksei Arbuzov, August Strindberg and Vercors (birthname Jean Marcel Bruller).

The programme showcases the work of its young directors (i.e. those who have participated in the Donmar’s Resident Assistant Director Scheme, RAD).

The season opens with Penelope Skinner’s new version of Arbuzov’s The Promise, which runs from November 19 (previews from November 15) to December 8, 2012.

Set in 1943, during the siege of Leningrad, The Promise is directed by Alex Sims who was the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar from 2007 – 2008.

The Promise is followed – from December 17, 2012 (previews from December 13) to January 5, 2013 – by Conor McPherson’s new English version of the Strindberg classic The Dance of Death.

Set on an isolated island, The Dance of Death finds Edgar and his wife Alice living a bitter life, their marriage soured by hatred. However, their miserable lives get a jolt when Alice’s cousin Kurt arrives, subsequently becoming a pawn used by Edgar and Alice to finally get the best of each other…

The Dance of Death is directed by Titas Halder, a RAD in 2010/11.

The season ends with Anthony Weigh’s new version of Vercors’ The Silence of the Sea, which runs from January 14 (previews from January 10) to February 2, 2013.

Directed by Simon Evans, who finished his RAD placement earlier this year, The Silence of the Sea examines an excruciating dilemma faced by both the occupier and the occupied. Written in 1942, the book was published secretly in Nazi-occupied Paris and quickly became a symbol of mental resistance against German occupiers.

Read more about The Silence of the Sea

Announcing the line up, Donmar Artistic Director Josie Rourke said:

“As a graduate of the Donmar’s Resident Assistant Director Scheme myself, I can confidently say it gives the best training to an aspiring director. Not only did it give me an amazing insight into the great craft of British theatre, the relationships I made started my career as a professional director. It is these concrete opportunities for new directors that the industry and young people need right now.

“The first two years of the Donmar Trafalgar season have been a huge success with critics and audiences alike, and I wanted to build on this by commissioning leading playwrights Penelope Skinner, Conor McPherson and the Donmar’s associate artist Anthony Weigh to write new versions of European classics for this year’s young directors.”

As well as Josie Rourke, other graduates of the RAD scheme include Rupert Goold, Sam Buntrock, Toby Frow and Sacha Wares.