News from the NT

CLEANSED                        Dorfman Theatre
Previews from 16 February, press night 23 February, booking until 2 April with further performances to be announced.

The playwright Sarah Kane (1971-99) receives her National Theatre debut with an unflinching new production of CLEANSED directed by Katie Mitchell. It opens on 23 February, with set design by Alex Eales, costumes by Sussie Juhlin-Wallen, lighting by Jack Knowles, movement by Joseph Alford, music by Paul Clark and sound by Melanie Wilson.

Tinker practises the art of atrocity, but even he isn’t immune from the need for love. Existing on the border between beauty and brutality, CLEANSED imagines a world in which language, human relationships and the body itself are pared away to bare bone.

CLEANSED contains graphic scenes of physical and sexual violence.

One of Britain’s most influential playwrights, Sarah Kane’s first play Blasted opened at the Royal Court Theatre in 1995. It was followed by the television screenplay Skin and plays Phaedra’s Love, Cleansed, Crave and 4.48 Psychosis, which was completed shortly before her suicide in 1999 and performed at the Royal Court the following year.

Katie Mitchell’s previous productions at the National Theatre include Women of Troy, Pains of Youth, Waves, Some Trace of Her, A Woman Killed with Kindness, The Cat in the Hat, Beauty and the Beast and Hansel and Gretel.


THE SUICIDE                    Travelex £15 Tickets, Lyttelton Theatre
Previews from 6 April, press night 13 April, booking until 21 May with additional performances to be announced

THE SUICIDE by Suhayla El-Bushra, after Erdman, will open at the Lyttelton Theatre on 13 April as part of the Travelex £15 Tickets season, directed by Nadia Fall and designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting by Paule Constable.

Things are getting tough for Sam. No job, benefits stopped and stuck in a tiny flat with his girlfriend Maya and her mum. The pressure is building. It feels like there might be only one way out. But every ending is a beginning and there are plenty of people keen to capitalise on Sam’s momentous decision. From corrupt local politicians to kids trying to raise the number of views of their online videos, everyone wants a piece of Sam’s demise. It scarcely matters what Sam actually wants. Faced with the promise of immortality, what’s his life worth?

Suhayla El-Bashra takes the satiric masterpiece by Nikolai Erdman (1900-1970) and smashes it into contemporary urban Britain.

Currently Writer in Residence at the NT Studio, Suhayla El-Bushra’s plays include Pigeons at the Royal Court, Cuckoo at the Unicorn,The Kilburn Passion at the Tricycle and Fingertips for Clean Break at Latitude; she was a core writer on the TV series Hollyoaks .

Nadia Fall’s productions for the NT include Our Country’s Good, Dara, Home, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Chewing Gum Dreams and Hymn; her other work includes Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Disgraced (Bush Theatre), and Alan Ayckbourn’s Way Upstream at Chichester.