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RSC announces Maydays casting

David Edgar
David Edgar

CASTING for the RSC’s timely new staging of David Edgar’s powerful play Maydays is announced today.

The play was first staged by the RSC at the Barbican Theatre in 1983, with the new production being performed as part of the Autumn Mischief Festival in The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon from 27th September to 20th October.

Geoffrey Beevers will play Trelawney/Pugachev, alongisde Gillian Bevan (Mrs Glass/Weiner), Richard Cant (Jeremy), Sophie Khan Levy (Clara/Judy), Chris Nayak (Phil/Korolenko), Lily Nichol(Amanda/Erica), Mark Quartley (Martin), Christopher Simpson (James Grain/Paloczi), Liyah Summers (Bryony/Tanya) and Jay Taylor (Lermontov).

Edgar’s award-winning and epic play is revived in what is the 50th anniversary year of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy’s assassination, the student-worker uprising in Paris and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

It tells the story of the idealistic young who came of age in 1968 and were drawn into revolutionary politics.

Maydays was fiercely topical when first premiered, and is now relevant again in a new age of radical leftism and global politics, providing startling parallels to the political revolution of the Millennial Generation.

The production is directed by Owen Horsley who was last at the RSC in 2017 directing Salome in the Swan Theatre.

Prior to that, he worked as Gregory Doran’s associate director on the King and Country cycle of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V which toured to New York, China and Hong Kong. He also directed the Chinese version of Henry V in Shanghai as part of the RSC’s Chinese Folio Translation project.

There will also be three performances of Edgar’s one-person solo show Trying It On at The Other Place on 18th, 19th and 20th October, 2018.

Edgar was caught up in the student revolt aged 20 in 1968, which defined his politics and gave focus to his playwriting.

In Trying It On he confronts and is confronted by his 70-year-old self today. Do they still share the same beliefs? Has the world changed, or has he? Why did his generation – supposedly so radical in its youth - vote Brexit? Has he sold in or sold out?

The text for Trying It On has been developed through interviews conducted by the playwright with activists, past and present, and marks Edgar's professional debut as a performer after 50 years of writing.

The production is directed by Christopher Haydon and produced by China Plate as part of their new partnership with Warwick Arts Centre. It premiered at the Warwick Arts Centre in June before transferring to the Birmingham Rep, and then – following its three-day run at The Other Place - to the Royal Court in London in October.

On two days at Stratford it will be possible to see Trying it On in the afternoon and Maydays in the evening.

On Saturday, 6th October, at 5.45pm, at The Other Place, Edgar will also take part in a special panel discussion called Theatre and Political Change.

The discussion will explore ways in which theatre and the arts can reflect and effect change. Other speakers will be announced soon.

In his 70th birthday year Edgar sees a number of revivals of his work. As well as Maydays and Trying It On, there are revivals of his adaptations of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and his new adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which returns to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this December.

He is the RSC’s most produced living playwright.

Further information about the RSC’s current Mischief Festival of new work at The Other Place see https://www.rsc.org.uk/mischief-festival/

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