Where – Shaubuehne Website
Book by Virginia Woolf
In a stage version by Alice Birch
Translated from the English by Brigitte Walitzek
Director: Katie Mitchell
With: İlknur Bahadır, Philip Dechamps, Cathlen Gawlich , Carolin Haupt, Jenny König, Alessa Llinares , Isabelle Redfern, Konrad Singer
A heroine who is born a hero, or a hero who becomes a heroine – does that even matter? Orlando lived through four centuries of British and European human history, lived at the court of Elizabeth I, fell in love with a Russian princess during a legendary festival of James I on a frozen river, tried his hand at being a writer, and became envoy Charles II in Constantinople, who returned to Britain as a woman, wrote, gave parties in the enlightened 18th century, loved men and women, prostitutes and nobles, and married a man in the buttoned-up Victorian era. Man, woman, does Orlando even have to choose? With her biography of Orlando, Virginia Woolf wrote a biography that undermines all rigid categories with ease and artistic freedom, recharges them with meaning or presents them as fluid. She playfully interweaves life and art, reality and fiction into a visionary work. She created one of the most colourful heroes in literary history, whose overabundance of identities breaks any narrow attribution and rigid categorization.
Katie Mitchell and Alice Birch examine Orlando’s queer journey through centuries of patriarchal human history in a production that combines stage events and live video.
2. The Grinning Man
Where – Bristol Old Vic Website
A strange new act has arrived at the fairground. Who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile? Helped by an old man, a lone wolf and a blind girl, his story must be told. The epic tale of an abandoned child with a terrible secret. A disfigured youth who is desperate to hide and a sightless girl who longs to be discovered. Let the darkness seduce you. Based on The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo and brought to life by director Tom Morris (Touching the Void) and writer Carl Grose (Dead Dog in a Suitcase), featuring a sensational original score by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler and puppetry from Gyre & Gimble – the original puppeteers of War Horse!
Where – ETT Website
Written by Mike Bartlett, part of Signal Fires, a national storytelling project.
Phoenix is an audio drama, written in rapid response to the present moment, by Mike Bartlett and read by Bertie Carvel, Olivier Award winners, who previously collaborated on the BBC’s Doctor Foster. Sound design by Ben & Max Ringham. The production is part of Signal Fires, a project conceived by ETT and Headlong to bring together over forty of the UK’s leading touring companies to tour an idea at a time when traditional touring isn’t possible.
As England enters its second lockdown, here’s a story that lays bare the destructive nature of ego and imagines how we came to be here. Phoenix is a story about fire and destruction; about self-deceit and the corrosion of trust; about interrogating the tension between our collective responsibility and individual desires.
Phoenix is also available to listen to via Spotify and iTunes.
4. Death Of England: Delroy
Watch Clint Dyer and Roy Williams’ Death of England: Delroy, an ‘urgent, timely solo work, performed with firecracker energy’ (★★★★ Evening Standard) by actor Michael Balogun. The play explores a Black working class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Great Britain. Death of England: Delroy was the first live production at the National Theatre since closing its doors due to Coronavirus. In October 2020, new national Coronavirus measures sadly meant the production was forced to close mid-way through its run. The play was filmed on its opening and closing night on Wednesday 4 November. Death of England: Delroy is streaming for free from 7pm UK time on Friday 27 November. It will be available on demand until 7pm UK time on Saturday 28 November. You need to start watching by 5.30pm on Saturday to be able to watch it all.
5. The Thanksgiving Play
Where – LA Theatre Works Website
Starring: Ellis Greer, Liza Weil, Josh Stamberg, Mark Jude Sullivan
A roast of well-meaning political correctness, The Thanksgiving Play puts the American origin story in the comedy-crosshairs: Three “woke,” white thespians devise an elementary school pageant about the first Thanksgiving.
6. Covid Classics
Where – Today Tix Website
“Once the plague is established in a city, normal social order collapses.” – Antonin Artaud (1938)
This vibrant assortment of short plays brings together tales from trailblazing writers whose creative experiments redefined the possibilities of theatre in moments of seismic change. Reimagining works by master dramatists Anton Chekhov, Luigi Pirandello, August Strindberg, and the first surrealist, Guillaume Apollinaire, this lively, eclectic collection reaches into the past and finds surprising echoes in the present.
Produced by The Actors Theatre of Louisville