The Almeida Theatre announces full casting for Bakkhai. James Macdonald directs Anne Carson’s new version of Euripides’ hedonistic, visceral tragedy. With three actors and a chorus, this new production will echo the original Ancient Greek performance model.
Kevin Harvey joins the previously announced Ben Whishaw, who makes his Almeida debut as Dionysos, and Bertie Carvel who returns to the Almeida as Pentheus.
The chorus will include Amiera Darwish, Eugenia Georgieva, Kaisa Hammarlund, Helen Hobson, Hazel Holder, Melanie La Barrie, Elinor Lawless, Catherine May, Louise Mills and Belinda Sykes.
Pentheus has banned the wild, ritualistic worship of the god Dionysos. A stranger arrives to persuade him to change his mind. Euripides’ electrifying tragedy is a struggle to the death between freedom and restraint, the rational and the irrational, man and god.
Design is by Antony McDonald, with light by Peter Mumford, sound by Paul Arditti, composition by Orlando Gough and musical direction by Lindy Tennent-Brown. Choreography is by Jonathan Burrows and Gillie Kleiman. Casting is by Anne McNulty CDG.
Anne Carson is a poet, essayist, translator, playwright – and classicist who frequently references, modernises – and translates Greek mythology. Anne’s translation of Sophocles’ Antigone, starring Juliette Binoche and directed by Ivo van Hove, played at the Barbican earlier this year having premiered at Théâtre National du Luxembourg. Anne is a MacArthur Fellow; she has received the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Pushcart Prize, and was an Anna-Maria Kellen fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2007.
James Macdonald’s work at the Almeida includes The Triumph of Love, Judgment Day and A Delicate Balance. His production of The Father is currently playing at the Tricycle Theatre. He was Associate Director of the Royal Court from 1992 to 2007, premiering works by Sarah Kane, Caryl Churchill and Martin Crimp. More recently at the Royal Court he has directed The Wolf From the Door, Cock and Love and Information. His other credits include Roots (Donmar Warehouse), #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Wei Wei, And No More Shall We Part (Hampstead Theatre), King Lear, The Book of Grace, Top Girls (Broadway), Judgment Day, Dido, Queen of Carthage, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Exiles (National Theatre), Dying City (Lincoln Center), Drunk Enough to Say I Love You (Public Theater) and Glengarry Glen Ross (West End).
Bertie Carvel returns to the Almeida stage, having previously performed in Rope. He created the role of Miss Trunchbull in Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s Matilda, The Musical (RSC, West End and Broadway). His iconic performance won him a raft of awards including the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical, the prestigious Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination. Bertie’s other theatre credits include The Pride (Royal Court), Parade (Donmar Warehouse), The Man of Mode, The Life of Galileo and Coram Boy (all National Theatre). On television, he appeared as Nick Clegg in James Graham’s Channel 4 drama Coalition, and is currently playing the role of Jonathan Strange in the BBC adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Other film and television credits include The Wrong Mans, Babylon, Restless, Hidden, Sherlock, Just William, The Crimson Petal and The White, John Adams, Doctor Who, Hawking and Les Misérables. He is soon to appear in Mike Bartlett’s Doctor Foster for the BBC.
Kevin Harvey returns to the Almeida after appearing in Mike Bartlett’s Game earlier this year. His previous theatre credits include The Book of Mormon (West End), Titus Andronicus and Candide (both RSC Swan Season 2013), The Alchemist (Liverpool Playhouse), Decade (Headlong), Salt (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Wig Out! (Royal Court), Stags & Hens (Royal Court Liverpool) and Macbeth (Out of Joint). Kevin’s television credits include Good Cop, Spooks and Ruby in the Smoke.
Ben Whishaw makes his Almeida debut, having last appeared on stage in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo in the West End. Other theatre includes Peter and Alice (West End), Cock (Royal Court), His Dark Materials, The Seagull, The Idiot (all National Theatre) and Hamlet (Old Vic), for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award. On film, he recently lent his voice to Britain’s best-loved bear in Paddington and performed in the BAFTA-nominated Lilting. He played Q in Sam Mendes’ Skyfall, a role he will reprise in upcoming Bond film Spectre. Other films include Enduring Love, Layer Cake, Perfume, Stoned, I’m Not There, Brideshead Revisited, Bright Star, The Tempest and Cloud Atlas. He won a BAFTA for the BBC adaptation of Richard II. Other television includes The Hour, Nathan Barley and Criminal Justice, for which he won Best Actor Awards at the Emmys and the Royal Television Awards. Later this year he will appear opposite Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz in The Lobster, as Herman Melville in the Heart of the Sea and alongside Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter in Suffragette.
Until 18 July
a new version created by Robert Icke
Press Night 5 June, 7pm
23 July – 19 September 2015
a new version by Anne Carson
directed by James Macdonald
Press Night 30 July, 7pm
25 September – 14 November 2015
a new version by Rachel Cusk
directed by Rupert Goold
Press Night 1 October, 7pm
Monday 1st June 2015