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National Theatre - April to August 2013

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE NATIONAL Theatre has announced its programme for the coming months and it includes James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Sharon D Clarke, Tanya Ronder’s new version of Pirandello’s Liola, Carl Miller’s new version of Erich Kästner’s Emil and the Detectives, and Ben Power’s new version of Romeo and Juliet for younger audiences.

However, the season opens with Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude. Directed by Simon Godwin and starring Anne-Marie Duff, it opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on June 4, 2013 (previews from May 28) before continuing in repertoire until August.

Following a family from the aftermath of World War One until the late 1940s, Eugene O’Neill’s audacious epic is one of the great masterpieces of American theatre.

Shattered when the love of her life is killed in the war and haunted by their unconsummated passion, Nina escapes her jealous Ivy League father and embarks on a series of tawdry sexual escapades until, cajoled by her appalled, long-suffering suitor Charles, she marries the amiable young Sam.

But while pregnant, Nina learns a horrifying secret that precipitates a desperate, life-changing decision and propels her fatally into the arms of another.

The cast also includes Geraldine Alexander, Patrick Drury, Charles Edwards (as Charles), Darren Pettie, Wilf Scolding and Jason Watkins.

Anne-Marie Duff returns to the National Theatre, where she last played the title role in Saint Joan, winning Best Actress at the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2008. She was also nominated for an Olivier Award, while the production was named Best Theatre Production at the South Bank Awards. Duff’s recent theatre work includes Cause Célèbre (Old Vic) and the title role in Berenice (Donmar Warehouse).

Her extensive award-winning screen work includes Shameless, Parade’s End, The Accused – Mo’s Story, Margot and The History of Mr Polly.

Charles Edwards is currently appearing in James Graham’s This House, which continues in the Olivier Theatre until May 15, 2013. For his performance as Jack Weatherill, he was nominated for the 2012 Olivier Best Actor Award jointly with his role as Bertie in The King’s Speech (West End). His other theatre work includes Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe) and The 39 Steps (West End and Broadway). On television, he has appeared in Downton Abbey.

Simon Godwin, who will be making his National Theatre directorial debut, is currently an Associate Director of Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Court, where his productions include Lucy Kirkwood’s NSFW, Vivienne Franzmann’s The Witness, Luke Norris’ Goodbye to All That, Anya Reiss’ The Acid Test, and Nick Payne’s Wanderlust.

His work for Bristol includes Krapp’s Last Tape/A Kind Of Alaska, The Faith Healer and Far Away; and elsewhere, The Winter’s Tale (Headlong with Nuffield Theatre and Schtanhaus/UK tour). He received the Emerging Director Award at the 2012 Evening Standard Awards.

Strange Interlude is designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting by Guy Hoare, music by Michael Bruce and sound by Christopher Shutt.

NB: Dates in late August will be announced with the new booking period in June.