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Trafalgar Studios' Gunpowder Season



Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE ROYAL Shakespeare Company's acclaimed Gunpowder season transfers from Stratford-upon-Avon's Swan Theatre to the West End's Trafalgar Studios at the end of the year - timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the infamous Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

The five plays comprising the Gunpowder season - to be played over a ten week period, are:

A New Way to Please You which runs from December 21 to December 31, 2005.

Written in 1632 by Thomas Middleton, William Rowley and Philip Massinger, A New Way to Please You is a black comedy that revolves around a law requiring every man aged 80 and every woman aged 60, to be 'put down' because they are no longer useful to society.

This is followed, from January 4 to January 14, 2006, by Thomas More - the first major production of the work in four centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written between 1592 and 1595 by Shakespeare, Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle, the 'banned' play tells of the race riots and dissent that More attempted to quell. Nigel Cooke takes the title role.

Next up, from January 17 to January 28, comes Sejanus: His Fall (pictured) - Ben Jonson's 1603 political thriller that chronicles the rise and fall of Sejanus, the Emperor Tiberius' right-hand man.

The season's fourth play, Believe What You Will, runs from January 31 to February 11, 2006, and sees a Middle Eastern leader come out of hiding in order to reunite his people.

However, the all-powerful Roman Empire threatens war on the state that grants him refuge. Peter de Jersey takes on the role of the exiled King Antiochus.

Lastly but by no means least, is Frank McGuinness' Speaking Like Magpies which runs from February 14 to February 25, 2006.

Specially commissioned for the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon where, as the last of the season's productions it receives its world premiere on September 29, 2005, Speaking Like Magpies looks at the background of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

The 400-seat Trafalgar Studios is similar in size to the Swan and was inaugurated in June 2004 with the RSC's 2003/2004 Swan production of Othello.

 

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