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Happy Days - National Lyttelton

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DEBORAH Warner will direct Fiona Shaw in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre where it runs in repertoire from January 24 (previews from January 18) to March 1, 2007.

Blazing light, scorched grass. Buried to above her waist and woken by a piercing bell, Winnie chatters away as she rummages in a bag, brushes her teeth, pulls out and kisses a revolver. Her husband, Willie, responds now and then, reads from an old paper, studies a pornographic postcard. A second bell signals the end of another happy day.

Happy Days which was written in 1960, was first seen at the Lyttelton in 1976.

Shaw and Warner have previously worked together on Richard II, The Good Person of Sichuan, The Powerbook (all at the National), Medea (West End and Broadway), Electra (RSC), Hedda Gabler (Abbey Theatre and West End) and The Waste Land (international tour).

Shaw’s other theatre credits include Machinal, The Way of the World and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the NT.

Warner also directed King Lear for the National. Her other work includes La Voix Humaine (Opera North), Julius Caesar (Barbican and world tour) and St John Passion (ENO).

Also at the Lyttelton are two productions for the 2007 Travelex £10 Season – Attempts On Her Life and Sizwe Banzi Is Dead.

Attempts On Her Life: 17 Scenarios for the Theatre – in repertoire from March 14, 2007 (previews from March 8).

Martin Crimp’s 17 Scenarios for the Theatre, shocking and hilarious by turns, are a roller-coaster of late 20th century obsessions. From pornography and ethnic violence, to terrorism and unprotected sex, its strange array of nameless characters attempt to invent the perfect story to encapsulate our time.

Katie Mitchell will direct a cast that includes Kate Duchêne, Michael Gould and Jacqueline Kington.

Since its Royal Court premiere ten years ago, Attempts On Her Life has been translated into more than 20 languages. This is its first major UK revival.

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead – from March 21 (previews from March 19) to April 4, 2007.

John Kani and Winston Ntshona recreate the roles they originated for the 1972 production, when they worked with playwright Athol Fugard to create a play that brings an irresistible comic energy to its examination of friendship, hope and the nature of identity, as one man struggles to survive under apartheid.

It must be remembered that 30 years ago, collaboration between black and white theatre practitioners was the exception rather than the rule in South Africa.

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, directed by Aubrey Sekhabi, visits the Lyttelton from the Baxter Theatre Centre in South Africa.

Olivier Theatre: Read more

Cottesloe Theatre: Read more