Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, David Edgar’s trilogy of plays about the end of communism in Europe will be performed in repertory for the first time. Written by David Edgar and directed by Jerome Davis, from 13th to 30th November 2014 at The Cockpit.
The Shape of the Table, Thursday 13th November at 7.30pm
Pentecost, Friday 14th November at 7.30pm
The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Saturday 15th November at 7.30pm
The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November 1989 was a significant event for people all over Europe, and a particular inspiration for playwright David Edgar, who sat down the next day to write what would become the Iron Curtain Trilogy.
Written over a period of nine years, David Edgar’s three Cold War plays, The Shape of the Table, which was first produced at the National Theatre in 1990, Pentecost and The Prisoner’s Dilemma (both written for the Royal Shakespeare Company), explore how the revolution happened and its consequences for eastern Europe and the world. Now for the first time in London, all three will be performed in repertory, opening the week of the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Berlin.
The Iron Curtain Trilogy opens with The Shape of the Table which centres on the transition from communism to democracy. In Pentecost, which won the 1995 Evening Standard Best New Play of the Year award, the discovery of a fresco in a small church in the Balkans has the potential to change the history of European art and The Prisoner’s Dilemma explores the delicate process of negotiating peace between a newly-independent post-Soviet government and an oppressed and militant Muslim minority. The three plays deal with revolution, migration, and cultural and ethnic conflict, all subjects that remain relevant today.
British playwright and writer David Edgar has had over sixty of his plays published and performed worldwide, making him one of Britain’s most prolific playwrights of the post 1960s generation. He has been a long term associate of the RSC since 1976, a relationship that began with Destiny, his play about the National Front. He won both a Society of West End Theatres and a Tony Award for Best Play for the RSC’s The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. His plays for the National Theatre include The Shape of the Table, Albert Speer and Playing with Fire.
The Iron Curtain Trilogy will be staged in London by North Carolina based Burning Coal Theatre Company and will be directed by the company’s Artistic Director Jerome Davis. In the United States, Jerome Davis has worked with numerous theatre companies including Trinity Repertory Company (Providence), People’s Light & Theatre Company (Pennsylvania), New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Phoenix Theatre (New York), Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theatre (Cape Cod), Columbia University, and Soho Rep. Burning Coal re-examine overlooked classics as well as producing new plays that focus on issues applicable to contemporary society.
Jerome Davis, director, said “The fall of the Iron Curtain is the most important event of our lifetime. It continues to play out in wondrous and sometimes terrible ways today. David’s three plays collectively are, in my opinion, the greatest work of art yet created about that event. Given that this November marks the 25th anniversary of that event, it seemed like the right time to do the Trilogy … and to do it on the biggest stage possible. That is, of course, London. Also, frankly, I just love David’s writing.”
Writer David Edgar said: “The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall comes at a momentous and threatening moment for eastern Europe. My three plays about the breaking of the Iron Curtain and its aftermath weren’t conceived as a trilogy, but taken together I hope they pose challenging questions about the legacy of that event, now and in the future. Burning Coal have produced all three plays over the last 15 years and I’m thrilled that they’ve decided to present them together for the first time”.
The Cockpit in Marylebone is home to the Theatre of Ideas. Their focus is on ensemble working and providing a voice of the times through theatre.
Written by David Edgar Directed by Jerome Davis
Assistant director Stephen Eckert and Carry Vaughn Choral Music by Daniel J. Wolfert
Sound and music by John Heitzenrater Scenery by Matt Haber
Lighting design by Matthew Adelson Properties by Elizabeth Newton
Costumes by Caitlin Cisek Dramaturgs Marshall Botvinik and Erik Kildow
Dialects Coach Kirby Wahl Assistant Stage Managers Mia Carson, Caroline
Stage Managers Laura Owens, Shannon Plowden Gschwind, Christine Schatzle & Carry Vaughn & Steph Scribner
Cast: Jeff Aguiar, Rebecca Bossen, Marc Carver, Tim Davis, Gil Faison, Jon Fitts, Jeanine Frost, Matthew Hager, Max Hanau, Joey Heyworth, Hope Hynes, Maggie Lea, Brian Linden, Matthew Lubin, Elise Kimple, Tom McCleister, Brook North, Joel Oramas, Julie Oliver, Greg Paul, Rajeev Rajendran, Mikaela Saccoccio, Steph Scribner, David Skaggs and Thaddeus Walker
13th – 30th November 2014
The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH
£15 (£12 concs) | www.thecockpit.org.uk | 020 7258 2925
The three plays are separate and can be seen on their own.
A package deal for all three shows is available at £40
The Shape of the Table
13, 16, 20, 22, 27 and 29 November at 7:30 pm
Sunday matinee 16 November at 2:30 pm
14, 16, 21, 28 November at 7:30 pm
Sunday Matinees 23 & 30 November at 2.30pm
The Prisoner’s Dilemma
15, 19, 26, 30 November at 7:30 pm
Saturday matinees 22 & 29 November at 2:30pm
The Berlin Wall was erected overnight on 13 August 1961. Constructed by the GDR (German Democratic Republic) to stop the flux of East Germans leaving for better living conditions in the West, it ran through Berlin, separating the East and West of the city and dividing East from West Germany. In the 28 years that it existed, a total of 138 people died at the Wall including eight soldiers on duty. The fall of the Berlin Wall was seen in a metaphorical sense as the demise of the Iron Curtain and eventually paved the way for German reunification which was concluded on 3rd October 1990. The fall of the Berlin wall led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the independence of many former Soviet republics, including Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Ukraine.
Wednesday 10th September 2014