Premiere US Premiere
Production Language English
Country of Origin England, United Kingdom
Description When Sam Mendes took the helm of the Donmar Warehouse in 1992, it was clear that British theater would never be the same again. Mendes' leadership-and his unerring sense of the zeitgeist (on full display in his Oscar-winning, debut film American Beauty and 2002's Road to Perdition)-soon won the Donmar an international reputation. Mendes' reinvention of the musical Cabaret went on to earn accolades on Broadway in 1998, the same year he debuted at BAM with his acclaimed Royal National Theatre production of Othello, featuring Simon Russell Beale as an unforgettable Iago.
This January, Mendes returns to BAM with a limited run of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Brian Friel's new version of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya performed in repertory by a stellar cast, marking Mendes' tenth and final year as the Donmar's artistic director. Russell Beale returns as well, in the dual roles of Shakespeare's Malvolio and Chekhov's Vanya (BAM audiences will recall his celebrated Hamlet with the RNT in 2001). Making her US stage debut is two-time Oscar-nominee Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Hilary & Jackie), in the diametrically opposite roles of Viola and Sonya. Rounding out the lead roles are the inimitable Helen McCrory (Olivia/Yelena) and Mark Strong (Orsino/Astrov), also in their US stage debuts.
Mendes chose to link these plays because they are both consummate works about love. In Chekhov's hands, it goes sadly unrequited; Shakespeare allows a happier resolution. Leave it to Mendes to make the inevitably intriguing connections.