An attack on the hedonistic lifestyle of the ‘bright young things’ of the 1920s and 30s, New Theatre brings Terence Rattigan’s ‘forgotten’ and quite remarkable play, After the Dance to Sydney audiences from 8 August 2017.
David Scott-Fowler is a would-be historian, suffering writer’s block and lost in an alcoholic haze, his heavy drinking seriously affecting his health. His wife Joan maintains a carefree public face, and doesn’t quite dare to reveal how much she loves him. When David falls into a relationship with the much-younger Helen, an idealist who is determined to ‘save’ him, events take a tragic turn.
Written in 1939, Rattigan’s play is less well-known than his later hits (The Winslow Boy, Separate Tables) but displays all his skill as an observer of human nature and consummate theatrical storyteller. Under the social comedy is a profound and subtle study of the young people who lived life to the full in the hedonistic 1920s, only to find themselves, a decade later, disillusioned and on the brink of a world war.
“Reading this wonderful play, I was enchanted, oscillating between laughing out loud and being deeply moved by the profound melancholy lurking below the surface,” says Louise Fischer, New Theatre Artistic Director. “Then I did a little research and realised that, from what was on record, the play had never been performed in Sydney!”
“I was astonished, as I felt this was such a strong and powerful work that needed to be seen. Knowing it had a hugely successful revival in London in 2010 (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) simply reinforced our belief that it was ripe for revisiting.”
Director Giles Gartrell-Mills is returning to New Theatre after his triumphant production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd in 2014. For him, After the Dance dives deep into the most painful forms of love, revealing truths of human behaviour in merciless detail.
“Rattigan is a master dramatist; there are few who have ever reached his command of form. While After the Dance comes early in his career, it is nonetheless grounded in impeccable structure, holding hidden a great many of the demons that would surface in his later work.”
Sir Terence Rattigan is considered one of the most popular English 20th-century dramatists. His first play, First Episode, was produced in 1934; his best-known later works include After the Dance, Flare Path, The Browning Version and The Deep Blue Sea. Many of his plays have been adapted for film, and are frequently revived.
Rattigan served as a flight Lieutenant in the Coastal Command, RAF from 1940 to 1945, and in 1958 he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). In 1971 he became Knight Bachelor. On his death in 1977, he left his Estate to charity with all royalties from his plays being donated to Denville Hall – a home for retired actors which was founded in 1926.
“Every few years the British theatre rediscovers Rattigan with an air of astonished surprise: this excellent production reminds us that we should simply accept him as one of the supreme dramatists of the 20th century.” – The Guardian (UK)
Director: Giles Gartrell-Mills Featuring: Tom Aldous, Callum Alexander, Lloyd Allison-Young, George Banders, John Michael Burdon, Sandra Campbell, Rowan Davie, Peter Flett, Matt Ford, Valentin Lang, Lauren Lloyd Williams, Amelia Robertson-Cuninghame, Alyssan Russell, Claudia Ware Assistant Director/Production Manager: Mark G Nagle Set Designer: John Cervenka Lighting Designer: Liam O’Keefe Costume Designer: Brodie Simpson Sound Designer: Liam Kemp Vocal Coach: Amy Hume Costume Assistant: Alison Roigard Stage Manager: Saskia van’t Hoff Assistant Stage Manager: Erik Janousek
After the Dance
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 10 August – 9 September 2017 (previews: 8 & 9 August)
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: New Theatre presents After the Dance – photo by Bob Seary