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RASHEEDA SPEAKING: Full casting announced | Trafalgar Studios 2

Rasheeda Speaking Troupe today announces full casting for the UK première of Joel Drake Johnson’s tense workplace drama Rasheeda Speaking. Sheila Reid (Rose Saunders) and Bo Poraj (Dr David Williams) complete the company with the previously announced Elizabeth Berrington (Ileen Van Meter) and Tanya Moodie (Jaclyn Spaulding). Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle the production opens at Trafalgar Studios 2 on 20 April, with previews from 18 April, and runs until 12 May.

In one of Chicago’s wealthiest hospitals, a white doctor tries to remove a black receptionist by enlisting her colleague as a spy. The women’s friendship quickly deteriorates, and a chilling power struggle ensues. With the office becoming a battleground of passive aggression and paranoia, things spin wildly out of control.

Joel Drake Johnson’s incendiary timely new play examines underlying racism in the workplace, white guilt and the manipulation of women by men in power. Rasheeda Speaking is a shocking dark comedy that keeps the audience in its claustrophobic grip until the final moment, proving that nothing in Middle America is ever truly black or white.

Rasheeda Speaking was originally produced by Chicago’s Rivendell Theatre, was nominated for Best Play by the Jefferson Committee, and then opened in New York City at The Signature Theatre as part of The New Group’s 2014-15 season. Under the direction of Tony and Emmy Award Winner, Cynthia Nixon, it featured two-time Oscar Winner, Dianne Wiest and Tony Award Winner, Tonya Pinkins. Rasheeda Speaking was subsequently nominated for Best New Off Broadway Play by the Outer Critics Circle and filmed by WNET New York/East Coast. This production marks the plays UK première.

Joel Drake Johnson is an award-winning, internationally produced playwright who began his career at Chicago’s critically acclaimed Econo-Art Theater. His other plays include Four Places, first produced at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater. It was subsequently produced in Los Angeles by The Rogue Machine Theatre, featuring Tony nominee, Roxanne Hart. Other works include A Blue Moon (Chicago Dramatists Theatre and Woodstock, New York City), As the Beaver (Zebra Crossing), The End of the Tour (Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago) and The Fall to Earth (Steppenwolf Theatre/ Penguin Rep / 59E59 Theaters and The Odyssey Theatre) and The First Grade, A Blameless Life, Tranquillity Woods (Steppenwolf Theatre).

Elizabeth Berrington plays Ileen Van Meter. For theatre her work includes Who Cares (Royal Court Theatre), Holes (Arcola Theatre), The Low Road (English Touring Theatre and Royal Court Theatre), Absent Friends (The Old Vic), Abigail’s Party (Hampstead Theatre and New Ambassadors Theatre), An Ideal Husband (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club (English Touring Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and Criterion Theatre) and The Country Wife (Sheffield Crucible). For television her work includes Stella, Little Boy Blue, The Tracey Ullman Show, Black Mirror: Hated in the Nation, The Living and the Dead, The Syndicate, Pramface, Stage Door Johnnies, The Office, Trying Again, Waterloo Road, Psychoville, Moving Wallpaper, May Contain Nuts, The Grimleys and The Lakes; and for film, National Civil War Centre Film Series, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Mr Turner, Hard Boiled Sweets, In Bruges, Scoop, Nanny McPhee, Spivs, Quills, 8 ½ Women, Urban Ghost Story, Naked and Secrets and Lies.

Tanya Moodie plays Jaclyn Spaulding. For theatre her work includes Trouble in Mind (The Print Room), Hamlet (RSC), The House That Will Not Stand (nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre) and The Piano Lesson (both Tricycle Theatre), Intimate Apparel (nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre and an Evening Standard Award for Best Actress / Ustinov Studio, Bath), Fences (Duchess Theatre), Catch, ACDC, Fewer Emergencies and Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness (Royal Court Theatre), The Overwhelming,

The Darker Face of the Earth and The Oedipus Plays (National Theatre), 66 Books (Bush Theatre) and The Suit (Young Vic). For television her work includes Sherlock, Dicte: Crime Reporter, Common, The Body Farm, The Clinic, Sea of Souls, Richard Is My Boyfriend, Archangel, Shane, Absolute Power, In Deep, Boyz Unlimited, Neverwhere and So Haunt Me and the upcoming A Discovery of Witches; and for film, Legacy, Rabbit Fever, The Tulse Luper Suitcases and The Final Passage.

Bo Poraj plays Dr David Williams. For theatre his work includes Acceptance, Gloria and Hilda (Hampstead Theatre), Blithe Spirit (Theatre Royal Bath, UK tour and Apollo Theatre), The Roman Bath (Arcola Theatre), Timon of Athens (Shakespeare’s Globe), Cloud Nine and Tartuffe (Almeida Theatre), Doctor Faustus (Young Vic), Stairs to the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Tempest (RSC), Remembrance of Things Past, Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards and Mother Courage and Her Children (National Theatre) and Prayers of Sherkin (The Old Vic). For television his work includes Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Miranda, Boomers, The Musketeers, The Thick of It, Waking the Dead, The Golden Hour, Murder Prevention, The Search for the Northwest Passage, NY-LON, Killing Hitler, Underworld, No Bananas; and for film, Angel Has Fallen, The Boat That Rocked, Stormbreaker, The Queen of Sheba’s Pearls, Enigma and Bubbly.

Sheila Reid plays Rose Saunders. For theatre her extensive work includes Silver Lining (English Touring Theatre), Pericles and In Extremis (Shakespeare’s Globe), Ghost From a Perfect Place (Arcola Theatre), Filumena (Almeida Theatre), American Trade, King Baby and Virtuoso (RSC), Uncle Vanya (Young Vic), Pornography (Birmingham Rep and Tricycle Theatre), Black Milk, Terrorism, My Mother Said I Never Should and Short Change (Royal Court Theatre), The Good Hope, Sweeney Todd, Caritas, Hedda Gabler, The Beaux’ Stratagem, Othello, The Way of the World, The Three Sisters and The Crucible (National Theatre), Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse), Snake in the Grass (The Old Vic) and Misalliance (Chichester Festival Theatre and UK tour). For television her extensive work includes Murder on the Blackpool Express, Benidorm, Father Brown, Psychobitches, Call the Midwife, Case Histories, Psychoville, Justice, Monarch of the Glen, My Wonderful Life, Ghostbusters of East Finchley, Gunfight at the Joe Kaye Corral, Get Lost!, Flickers, Lillie, The Emigrants, All Creatures Great and Small, The Sweeney and Owen; and for film, The Bad Education Movie, Home Grown, No Snow, Felicia’s Journey, Still Crazy, The Man Who Knew Too Little, The Winter Guest, American Friends, Brazil, The Dresser, Five Days One Summer and The Three Sisters.

Director Jonathan O’Boyle’s work includes Dear Brutus (Southwark Playhouse), Pippin (Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester and Southwark Playhouse), Hair (Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester and The Vaults), Four Play (nominated for an Off West End Award for Best Director), Sense of an Ending and Water Under the Board (Theatre503), The Surplus and All the Ways to Say Goodbye (Young Vic), Bash: Latterday Plays (Old Red Lion Theatre and Trafalgar Studios). Work as Resident Director includes An American in Paris (Dominion Theatre). Work as Associate Director includes This House (Chichester Festival Theatre, Garrick Theatre and UK tour), Mack and Mabel and Amadeus (Chichester Festival Theatre), This is My Family (Sheffield Crucible and UK tour), The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic), My Fair Lady and The Village Bike (Sheffield Crucible) and Manon (Royal Opera House).

Trafalgar Studios 2
14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY
Wednesday 18 April – Saturday 12 May 2018

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