Play Without Words

March 15 – 20, 2005, March 22 – April 3, 2005

Premiere US Premiere
Production Language English
Country of Origin England, United Kingdom
Description New Yorkers got their first taste of Matthew Bourne’s insouciant and wholly original approach to theater in 1998 with his all-male, startlingly feral (and Tony-winning) Swan Lake on Broadway. This time, Bourne—whose works include unique renditions of classic ballets and musicals—gives us a libidinous tale of Swinging Sixties London based on Harold Pinter and Joseph Losey’s 1963 film The Servant, which starred Dirk Bogarde.

Set to a feverish jazz score, Play Without Words tells its story without dialogue, relying instead on the equally revealing languages of movement and music. The action revolves around Anthony, the moneyed young owner of a Chelsea townhouse whose smug sense of entitlement gets a radical jolt thanks to the machinations of his resentful domestic staff. Driving the escalating intrigue is Anthony’s sinister manservant Prentice, who through psychological and sexual manipulation comes to dominate and devastate his weak-willed master. To further illustrate the duplicitous goings-on, Bourne has cast the major roles in triplet, resulting in a prismatic visual experience in which a character’s multiple thoughts and actions simultaneously unfold.

Coming to BAM after a sold-out run at London’s National Theatre, this Olivier Award-winning production is a delightfully original and terrifically fun undertaking, ripe with social commentary, class conflict, and runaway sexual desire.
Identifier 2005s.00811