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DREAM OF THE DOG

by Craig Higginson
Directed by Katie McAleese
Designed by Alex Marker
Lighting Design by Michael Nabarro
Sound Design by Andrew Pontzen
Costume Design by Penn O’Gara
Casting by Rachel Payant
Presented by Meeting Point Productions Ltd in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre
Cast: Ariyon Bakare. Gracy Goldman. Bernard Kay. Janet Suzman.

Time Out Critics' Choice
***** Five Stars The Daily Telegraph
**** Four Stars Time Out
**** Four Stars The Independent
Selected for Time Out Best of the Year 2010

Janet Suzman – Academy Award®, BAFTA and Golden Globe award nominee, and winner of two Evening Standard Awards for Best Actress – stars in the European premiere of the acclaimed new South African play

Spring Season 2010 – Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Finborough Theatre
Tuesday, 27 April – Saturday, 22 May 2010

THE SELL-OUT FINBOROUGH THEATRE PRODUCTION TRANSFER|RED DIRECTLY TO THE WEST END

Trafalgar Studios 2, Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY
Wednesday, 26 May – Saturday, 19 June 2010

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, shortly after the millennium. Patricia and Richard Wiley, an elderly white couple, are packing up to leave the farm they’ve sold to developers. Their preparations are interrupted by the arrival of a young man – ‘Look Smart’ – who used to be one of the black workers on their estate until he disappeared fifteen years ago.

The day before ‘Look Smart’ left, something terrible happened on the Wileys’ farm. But everyone has a different memory of the dreadful event and their own role in it. As the different accounts of their shared past are unravelled, they are all forced to confront their own versions of the truth – with shocking ramifications for their lives today.

Dream of the Dog is a richly textured and complex story of South Africa’s emerging democracy, and its continued negotiation with its past in order to find a workable identity for its future. Critically acclaimed in South Africa, this new play takes an unflinching look at the twin mantras of the post-Mandela age – reconciliation and forgiveness – as it asks whether black and white can ever live together peacefully.

Dream of the Dog received its world premiere in South Africa in 2007, playing at the Grahamstown Festival and the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, where it was nominated for four Naledi Awards (South Africa’s equivalent of the Olivier Awards) including Best New South African Play.

South African born Janet Suzman is a critically acclaimed actress who has previously played many leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, culminating in a memorable Cleopatra, and, most recently, Volumnia for The Complete Works Festival. Her films include The Draughtsman's Contract, The Singing Detective, Fellini's The Boat Sails On, and Nicholas and Alexandra for which she was nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar®), the BAFTA and the Golden Globe awards for Best Actress. Janet is a founding Patron of the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, where she appeared in the Market's opening production in 1976 – The Death of Bessie Smith, directed by Market co-founder Barney Simon; and in 1987 she returned to direct her long-time colleague John Kani in Othello. Janet has been actively involved in developing the script of Dream of the Dog with Craig Higginson.

Ariyon Bakare’s credits include Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, The Servant of Two Masters (Royal Shakespeare Company), To Kill A Mockingbird (Salisbury Playhouse), The Merchant of Venice (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield). Film credits include The Dark Knight, After The Rain and Secret Laugher of Women. Ariyon was nominated for Best Actor at the Royal Television Society Awards for his role as Ben Kwarme in Doctors.

Gracy Goldman’s credits include The Lost Voice (Royal Festival Hall), Great Expectations (New Vic Theatre), You Can’t Take It With You (Southwark Playhouse), Chasing The Moment (Arcola Theatre). Television credits include The Bill, Doctors, The Detectives and The Ruth Rendell Mysteries.

Bernard Kay’s many credits include After Haggerty (Finborough Theatre), An Inspector Calls (Garrick Theatre), Death of a Salesman (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (Royal Shakespeare Company), Spring Awakening, The Nun (BAC), Platonov (Almeida Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (King’s Head), Galileo (Young Vic Studio), Halpern and Johnson (New End Theatre) Nobody’s Fool (National Tour). Film credits include Dr Zhivago, A Ghost at Monte Carlo, Joy Division, Puritan, The Sewers of Gold, Dinner Date and Carry On Sergeant. Television credits include Casualty, Casualty 1909, Foyle’s War, Jonathan Creek, Robin Hood, A Very British Coup, Century Falls, Kremlin Farewell, The Bill and Pierrepoint.

Award-winning playwright Craig Higginson is the Literary Manager of Johannesburg’s famous Market Theatre. He worked as Barney Simon's assistant at the Market Theatre, and has also worked in the UK where he worked as a Director, Dramaturg and Assistant Director for such companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic, the Hampstead Theatre and the Almeida Theatre. Craig’s first play, Laughter in the Dark, was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2000, and he later adapted the script for BBC Radio 3 where it won the prestigious Gold Sony Award for 2004. He has adapted The Lord of the Flies (Market Theatre), written and directed The Perfect Circle (Wits Theatre and Grahamstown Fringe), co-wrote Truth in Translation and Ten Bush (Grahamstown Main Festival and the Market Theatre) and co-adapted The Jungle Book and Brer Rabbit (both Market Theatre). Craig has also published two novels – Embodied Laughter (Pan MacMillan, 1998) and The Hill (Jacana, 2005) - his next two novels, Last Summer and The Landscape Painter, will be published by Picador Africa in February 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Director Katie McAleese was Associate Director on the Olivier Award winning West End production of La Cage Aux Folles, where she directed casts including Roger Allam and John Barrowman. Previous credits as director include The Pope’s Wedding (Young Vic), The Importance of Being Earnest (Derby Playhouse), The Wall (The Junction) and The Revenger’s Tragedy (St Andrew’s Crypt, Holborn). She was also Associate Director on Animal Farm (Derby Playhouse), and an Assistant Director at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Northampton, Derby Playhouse, Theatr Clwyd, English Touring Theatre and in the West End, with directors including Terry Johnson, Terry Hands, Stephen Unwin and Simon Curtis. She trained at the National Theatre Studio, Birkbeck and Cambridge University. Katie has also worked extensively in TV script development, and was Head of Development for Alchemy TV.

The South African Press on Dream of the Dog
“Playwright Craig Higginson set out to write a script that would encapsulate in one scene the issues that permeate our country’s past, present and future. He has succeeded.” The Sunday Independent (South Africa)
“A compelling and well-paced psychoanalysis of post-apartheid South Africa” The Weekender
“This powerful piece of new South African theatre looks at how an incident which one person easily forgets can play on another’s mind and control their lives” The Herald (South Africa)
“Rarely does one have the privilege of seeing a play that is virtually flawless in concept, execution and collaborative impact. Dream of the Dog fits this bill…(the) nuances of texture make for wonderful theatre – the language is beautiful, the tale disturbing for its violence and the deeply buried lies it contains…Rather than offering clichéd insight into what reconciliation might mean in a post-apartheid South Africa, this is a play that revisits past injustices and uncovers hidden lies. Part political thriller part surreal horror, it is riveting.” Cue

The Press on Dream of the Dog
***** Five Stars, The Daily Telegraph

**** Four Stars, Time Out

Time Out Critics’ Choice

“The Finborough Theatre is one of those tiny London pub theatres that does mind-boggling things on a shoestring – like a Tardis of the performing arts. Among the highlights this summer, there’s the world premiere of a new play from Peter Nichols. Later this month, artistic director Neil McPherson is curating an ambitious festival to mark the theatre’s 30th anniversary with 30 new plays from the esteemed likes of Mike Bartlett, Mark Ravenhill and Laura Wade. And right now, this fringe powerhouse has a massive, unmissable hit on its hands with Dream of the Dog by South African playwright Craig Higginson.” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

“An evening fit to grab you by the throat.” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

“Dream of the Dog by South African playwright and novelist Colin Higginson is a post-apartheid drama highlighting the fate of white farmers in a changing landscape, produced with care and flair, and performed with real passion, not least by Janet Suzman, no less, in the leading role.” Michael Coveney, The Independent

“Dream of the Dog is both an allegory of Apartheid South Africa and a moving story in its own right.” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide
“Craig Higginson's well-crafted script” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide
“The projection of the issues troubling post apartheid South Africa through four very different characters is beautifully delivered by Craig Higginson’s writing, filled with the brooding tension of the time yet also containing warmth and dark humour. We are kept in rapt attention, with the cast never once letting the tension drop through an interval free 90 minutes of compelling drama.” Kimberley Knudsen, ThePublicReviews.com

“Apartheid’s legacies and the awful reckoning of confronting past wrongs is given a vivid immediacy in Craig Higginson’s intense and involving play, first seen at South Africa’s Grahamstown Festival in 2007 and now receiving its British premiere in an exemplary staging at the tiny Finborough.” Mark Shenton, The Stage

“As the playwright marshals the shifting perspectives of the same story, shocking facts gradually emerge and Janet Suzman gives an aching, arresting expression to the painful discoveries she makes as Patricia.” Mark Shenton, The Stage

“This is a play manifestly about South Africa as it struggles to contend with the bitter legacy of Apartheid but it’s also, rather brilliantly, about how we make sense of the past in general - the grudges, both reasonable and overwrought, that hold us back in our lives.” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

“It’s a play about a nation. Yet it’s also a play about families and how the ownership of truth shifts with the passing of time.” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

“Katie McAleese's carefully pitched production is one of presenting a transitional situation where only a good result is thinkable even if there are bumps and flaws all over the place on the way. And that sounds real enough to me.” Michael Coveney, The Independent

“A most significant play as it deals with salvation through the act of forgiveness. To South Africa the world stood in awe when Mandela appointed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of public hearings to cleanse the African souls of the atrocities committed by apartheid. When agonies are buried so deep, there is much digging to be done to bring truth and forgiveness to the surface. But can pain of such depth be brought to a closure? This highly political issue is covered in this play in very personal terms making it universal in its meaning and the base of a classic.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews

“The play deserves a longer life and can easily fill a theatre of substantial size. It is amazing that the miniscule Finborough can accommodate plays of such magnitude.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews
“The play vividly demonstrates how divisions of class, age and race obstinately persist in the post-apartheid world.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“As the world's sporting focus shifts to South Africa, it is salutary to be reminded of the country's unhealed wounds.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“We're deep in allegorical territory from the off in this masterful memory play from Craig Higginson” Lucy Powell, Time Out

“It teems with keen metaphors about South Africa's complicated past and precarious present, it's also a deeply human story” Lucy Powell, Time Out

“Craig Higginson’s drama is a concentrated, super-adrenaline Cherry Orchard” Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate

“Higginson’s world is more embittered than Chekhov’s” Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate

“Higginson handles the revelations carefully” Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate

“Janet Suzman’s performance, conveying Patricia’s opening melancholy, sitting among the dilapidated decór, the walls showing where pictures long stood, the room’s contents in packing-cases, as she looks through old photographs. Suzman’s performance expresses anger and regret, its internal anguish conveyed with a surprising lightness of manner, achieving emotional intensity without strain.” Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate

“Ariyon Bakare brings lightning switches of pent-up fury to “Look Smart”” Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate

“Both performances, well-supported by Gracy Goldman and Bernard Kay, bring emotional truth and immediacy to Higginson’s well-structured script.” Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate

“The acting in this intense play is stunning and, paired with an outstanding script, generates a riveting piece of theatre.” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“The chief pleasure of the evening is the majestic presence of Janet Suzman, who invests Patricia with glowing humanity and makes each line ring with personal truth.” Giles Cole, WhatsOnStage.com
“As the servant-turned-businessman still haunted by his past, Ariyon Bakare has just the right combination of pride and indignation” Giles Cole, WhatsOnStage.com
“Gracy Goldman perfectly embodies Beauty’s long-suffering, quiet dignity.” Giles Cole, WhatsOnStage.com
“Janet Suzman particularly notable in a part that might have been written for her.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“Aryion Bakare excels in the role of “Look Smart”, a young man clearly filled with a boiling mix of pride and resentment. His pent up anger explodes in the confines of the small theatre, putting the audience in fear of what he might do to Patricia.” Kimberley Knudsen, ThePublicReviews.com

“As Patricia, Janet Suzman fills the room with her presence” Kimberley Knudsen, ThePublicReviews.com

“Gracy Goldman as Beauty, the loyal servant of the family, brings a perfect blend of dignity and strength of character to the role.” Kimberley Knudsen, ThePublicReviews.com

“Beautifully served by the rest of the ensemble cast, which also features Ariyon Makare, Gracy Goldman and Bernard Kay” Mark Shenton, The Stage

“Janet Suzman is magnificent as Patricia - by turns frail, defiant, defeated, her eyes searching her guest for signs of relenting warmth while scanning inwardly too, running over past events in her mind.” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

“Ariyon Bakare matches her finesse: shifting between implacable composure and sudden gnawing fury - with saving vestiges of the little boy who, like the older woman, grew up in a world now changed beyond recognition.” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

“Ariyon Bakare conveys the heat of Look Smart’s anger, his intelligence, his arrogance. And, just when you think he’s too uptight to be more than a dramatic tool, he softens, he crumbles, we see how he’s deceived himself too.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“Suzman helped to develop this show with Higginson, and it’s her night.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“She gives us a nuanced, honest turn that trusts the material utterly. This is a woman with the strength of will to survive isolation, bereavement, a loveless marriage; a civilised woman whose rationalisations have kept her together. You feel the effort of survival, not the effort of performance. This is acting of the first order.” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“Suzman is a great actress, but there's no pulling of rank in her performance, and no wallowing” Michael Coveney, The Independent

“Bernard Kay makes this character genuinely frightening and disturbing” Michael Coveney, The Independent

“Janet Suzman gives the performance of her life, never sentimental nor melodramatic, but expressing her pain in such profound measure.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews

“Bernard Kay’s Richard is carefully drawn” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews

“Gracy Goldman’s Beauty is tender” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews

“Ariyon Bakare’s ‘Look Smart’ progresses from cautious to vulnerable in absorbing stages” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews

“Katie McAleese's production is stunningly acted” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Janet Suzman's Patricia is a model mixture of sadness, solitude and guilt” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Ariyon Bakare's Look Smart is equally torn between angry reparation and regret” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“There is staunch support from Bernard Kay and Gracy Goldman” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Janet Suzman and Ariyon Bakare fill the tiny Finborough Theatre with a stimulating, absorbing display of brutal reminiscence.” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“Suzman seems to have been waiting years to play this character, so invested is her performance” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“Janet Suzman is mesmerising as Mrs Wiley, facing down her past and refusing to be cowed by it, her remarkably alive face conveying a handful of conflicting emotions at every turn” Lucy Powell, Time Out

“Gracy Goldman's incorruptible serving girl, Beauty, provides a thunderbolt of realism to this true, textured and haunting historical reckoning.” Lucy Powell, Time Out

“Katie McAleese’s production maintains a finely-wrought tension throughout” Mark Shenton, The Stage

“Katie McAleese's nuanced staging, which runs the emotional gamut from flaming recrimination to inquisitive reflection” Lucy Powell, Time Out

“Director Katie Mcaleese stages the piece with subtle emotional climaxes” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews

“McAleese’s admirably designed production” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

“Designed with just the right dowdiness by Alex Marker” Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“Alex Marker’s set is perfection in its rural ambience” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreviews

 

Originally produced at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, South Africa

Image: Brandon Rosenblum.