The European premiere
“Words... they have their limits. They aren’t the same as the things they represent.”
★★★★★ Theatre Bubble
★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ Broadway World
★★★★ Everything Theatre
★★★★ Spy in the Stalls
★★★★ Prestridge Squared
★★★★ Paul in London
★★★★ London Pub Theatres
★★★★ Reviews Hub
Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Nanking massacre, as well as the first production at the Finborough Theatre building in its 150th anniversary year, the European premiere of Into the Numbers by multi-award-winning American playwright Christopher Chen.
In December 1937, in Nanking, then capital of China, occurred one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century – the rape, torture and murder of 300,000 Chinese civilians and the systematic mass execution of soldiers by the Japanese army.
In 2004, Iris Chang, famed author of The Rape of Nanking, a chronicle of the massacre that brought it back into public consciousness, committed suicide at the age of 36. What begins as a standard lecture and interview with the celebrated author, soon descends into a surreal nightmare. As ghosts from her research appear, she tries desperately to find order in the midst of mental chaos.
Into the Numbers by the Obie Award and Dramatist Guild’s Lanford Wilson Award winning playwright Christopher Chen, is a thrillingly innovative theatrical exploration of the philosophical and psychological implications of researching genocide, as well as the toll media saturation plays in the process.
Director Georgie Staight returns to the Finborough Theatre after her four star (The Daily Telegraph) sell-out production of Carmen Nasr’s new play Dubailand.
Playwright Christopher Chen work includes Caught (La MaMa Theater, New York City, and Volta Festival at Arcola Theatre), Home Invasion (Site Specific with The Flight Deck, California), The Hundred Flowers Project (Crowded Fire Theatre, San Francisco), The Late Wedding (Hub Theatre, San Francisco), Mutt (La Val’s Subterranean), Passage (Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia), The Window Age (Central Works, Berkeley) and You Mean to Do Me Harm (San Francisco Playhouse). His honours include the 2017 Obie Award for Playwriting for Caught; the 2017 Dramatist Guild Lanford Wilson Award; 2017 Drama League Nomination for Outstanding Production for Caught; the 2015-2016 Sundance Institute/Time Warner Foundation Fellowship for Theater; the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award through which he was the 2013-2014 Playwright-in-Residence at the Vineyard Theatre New York; the Barrymore Award; PHINDIE Critics Award; the Glickman Award; the Rella Lossy Playwriting Award; shortlist for the James Tait Black Award; nomination for the Steinberg Award; second place in the Belarus Free Theater International Competition of Modern Dramaturgy; a MAP Fund Grant; a Ford Foundation Emerging Writer of Color Grant; and a finalist for the PONY and Jerome Fellowships. His current commissions include American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre, LCT3, Manhattan Theatre Club, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Playwrights Horizons. His work has been published by American Theatre Magazine, Dramatists Play Service, Theatre Bay Area and Theater Magazine Yale.
Director Georgie Staight returns to the Finborough Theatre after her sell out run of Dubailand, nominated for an OffWestEnd Award. Direction includes Roosting (Park Theatre), White Light (Arcola Theatre as part of PlayWROUGHT), Flood (Tristan Bates Theatre), Safe (Jermyn Street Theatre), Dreamless Sleep (Arts Theatre and The Bunker) and Next of Kin (Bristol Old Vic Studio). She is also a playwright and has had her writing produced at Theatre503, The Bunker, Arcola Theatre, Arts Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. Writing includes the adaptation and world premiere of Deborah Levy’s Billy and Girl (Karamel Theatre), Let There Be Light (reading at Chichester Festival Theatre) and Dreamless Sleep (The Bunker). Assistant Direction includes Our Town (Watermill Theatre, Newbury) and Legally Blonde: The Musical (Bernie Grant Arts Centre). Georgie trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and is Joint Artistic Director at Flux Theatre.
Elizabeth Chan | Iris Chang
Theatre includes B!rth (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Sugar-Coated Bullets of Bourgeoisie (HighTide Festival), The Odyssey (Almeida Theatre), Caught, Hamlet is Dead (Arcola Theatre), Light Shinning in Buckinghamshire (National Theatre), Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse), Chimerica (Almeida Theatre, Headlong Theatre and West End), The Wheel (National Theatre of Scotland), Greenland (National Theatre), Don’t Shoot the Clowns (Fuel Theatre), An Argument About Sex (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh) and Cinderella (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith).
Television includes Coronation Street, Motherland, Carters Get Rich, The Last Dragonslayer, Last Tango in Halifax, Cucumber, Holby City, Black Mirror – The Entire History of You, Spirit Warriors and Silent Witness.
Timothy Knightley | Brett Douglas / Interviewer / Doctor
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include The Heaven.
Theatre includes The Distance (Sheffield Theatres and Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Romeo and Juliet (The Tobacco Factory, Bristol and Tour), The Distance (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Natural Affection (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Ashes (Nottingham Playhouse), Lady Windemere's Fan (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Ruben Guthrie (Wimbledon Studio Theatre), The Amazing Vacetti Sisters (Tristan Bates Theatre), The Water Engine (Old Vic Tunnels), Leon and the Place Between (Unicorn Theatre) and Absolution (Theatre503).
Film includes The Inbetweeners, The Birthday, The World Turns and Lucky.
Television includes The Evermoor Chronicles, Not Going Out and All Saints.
Jennifer Lim | Nanking Relative / Victim / Ensemble
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Acceptance as part of Vibrant 2015 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.
Theatre includes The Good Woman of Setzuan (National Theatre), A Colder Water Than Here (Vault Festival), World Factory Tour (Metis Arts), The Fu Manchu Complex (Ovalhouse), Wild Swans (The Young Vic), Speaking to Him (Birmingham Rep), Cleaning Up (Theatre Venture), Hecuba (Foursight Theatre), Daughter of the River (Mu-Lan Theatre Company) and Pork Bellies (Theatre Centre). Rehearsed Readings include The Kumamoto Care Home Murder (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and You Need Some of This (Theatre503).
Film includes A Monster Calls, Far Away, Piercing Brightness, Ten Thousand Waves, Womb, Still, Act of Grace, Hostel, Code 46 and Rogue Trader.
Television includes Spirit Warriors, Holby City and The League of Gentlemen.
Radio includes And the Rain My Drink and The Story of the Stone.
Amy Molloy | Minnie Vautrin / Ensemble
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Over the Bridge.
Theatre includes Disco Pigs, winner of the JMK Award (National Tour and Irish Tour), Cyprus Avenue (National Theatre of Ireland - Abbey Theatre, and Royal Court Theatre), Playhouse Creatures (Bruiser Theatre, Belfast, and Tour), TeaSet (Pleasance Edinburgh, Barons Court Theatre and White Bear Theatre), Rock Paper Scissors (Brockley Jack Studio Theatre), Tejas Verdes and Villa (Prime Cut Productions at MAC), My Cousin Rachel (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Big Maggie (Druid Theatre, Galway), Belfast Girls (King’s Head Theatre), John Gabriel Borkman (BAM Harvey Theater, New York, and National Theatre of Ireland - Abbey Theatre), The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Curve, Leicester), Black Milk (Prime Cut Productions), Kitty and Damnation (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), Once a Catholic (Upstairs at the Gatehouse) and Come on Over (Tristan Bates Theatre).
Film includes ’71, The Sea, Black Ice, and Bound.
Television includes The Fall, Call the Midwife and 50 Ways to Kill Your Lover.
Mark Ota | Deputy Japanese Ambassador / Soldier / Ensemble
Theatre includes Poker Face, I Went To a Fabulous Party (Kings Head Theatre), How to Hold Your Breath (Royal Court Theatre), My Mind is Free (Edinburgh Festival), (Up)Rooted (SLAM), Theatre Madness Festival (Stratford Circus), Home is Where (Rich Mix), The Hotel, Romeo and Juliet (Jackinabox Productions), Speaking to Him (Birmingham Rep), Cleaning Up (Theatre Venture), Hecuba (Foursight Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Moving Stories), The Tempest, As You Like It, The Memory of Water and Constellations (Arts Educational Schools London). Rehearsed Readings include The Sun (Yellow Earth) and Bird Bones (London Playwrights Lab).
Film includes The Watchers, Silentville, Walking With the Ferryman, Mountain, Woman Forever Woman, Moumoku Samurai, Memory Lane and Lullaby.
“Intense and uncompromising piece.” Alex Ramon, The Reviews Hub
“Dreamlike yet heartbreaking.” Paul Ewing, Paul in London
“Powerful and shocking.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Mesmerising.” Terri Paddock
“Compelling viewing.” Jeff Prestridge, Prestridge Squared
“A beautiful attempt to explain the inexplicable.” Paul Ewing, Paul in London
“The history it covers grips the interest, the direction stylish and the actors engaging.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide
“Intense, creative performances.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Thought-provoking.” Alex Ramon, The Reviews Hub
“Powerful and demanding.” Edward Lukes, Once a Week Theatre
“A convincing portrayal of mental illness.” Shanine Salmon, View From the Cheap Seat
“Into The Numbers is impressively intellectual, layered and invigorating.” Edward Lukes, Once a Week Theatre
“A clever, 90-minute play that negotiates the personal and the political.” Daniel Nelson, One World
“Its relevance is overwhelming.” Jeff Prestridge, Prestridge Squared
“A thrilling exploration of one individual's curiosity.” Alistair Wilkinson, Broadway World
“It's vital for plays like this to be put on. It's brutal in mood and feel, and at the same time, incredibly watchable.” Alistair Wilkinson, Broadway World
“A play that is enlightening and leaves you overwhelmed by the gumption Iris Chang possessed in her fight for recognition of the Nanking Massacre.” Phoebe Cole, The Spy in the Stalls
“The Finborough Theatre once again demonstrates why it is a leading playhouse in London, producing a wonderful version of the Obie Award winning play Into The Numbers by Christopher Chen.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“The play shines a light on humanity, seeking to find the best of us but overwhelmingly illuminating the worst.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“A fascinating, if rather oblique, piece of writing.” Ben Kulvichit, The Stage
“Daring.” Frey Kwa Hawking, A Younger Theatre
“A bleak tale that needs telling.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“This concise, impressionistic work leaves one wanting to discover more about both the Massacre and Iris Chang.” Paul Taylor, The Independent
“A haunting exploration into the mind of writer Iris Chang.” Paul Ewing, Paul in London
“It is refreshing to see a production that is so intellectually stimulating.” Phoebe Cole, The Spy in the Stalls
“Chen’s writing is disturbing and poignant.” Edward Lukes, Once a Week Theatre
“Christopher Chen’s writing brilliantly exposes the mind made fragile.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Christopher Chen's intimate dream-play.” Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage
Christopher Chen’s sensitive script.” Frey Kwa Hawking, A Younger Theatre
“Wonderful rich writing that manages to explore the wider human condition.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“A brave play.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre
“Chan’s committed, moving performance.” Alex Ramon, The Reviews Hub
“Elizabeth Chan gives a remarkable performance.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Elizabeth Chan gives a superb performance.” Edward Lukes, Once a Week Theatre
“Elizabeth Chan is mesmeric.” Jeff Prestridge, Prestridge Squared
“Elizabeth Chan’s remarkable performance.” David Weir, London Pub Theatres
“In the lead role Elizabeth Chan flourishes.” Alistair Wilkinson, Broadway World
“Elizabeth Chan gives a wonderfully nuanced performance.” Phoebe Cole, The Spy in the Stalls
“Elizabeth Chan cuts an intense, earnest, totally uncynical or sentimentalised figure in Georgie Staight’s absorbing production.” Paul Taylor, The Independent
“Energetically driven by the performance of Elizabeth Chan.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Elizabeth Chan impresses.” Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard
“Elizabeth Chan is heartbreaking.” Paul Ewing, Paul in London
“The performances are true, especially the herculean one by Elizabeth Chan.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up
“Timothy Knightley and Chan's dynamic on stage is exciting to watch.” Alistair Wilkinson, Broadway World
“Timothy Knightley switches with seamless skill from the Interviewer to Chang’s concerned husband and bewildered doctor.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Timothy Knightley equally gives a notable turn.” Phoebe Cole, The Spy in the Stalls
“Timothy Knightley deftly moves between the three characters of interviewer, husband and doctor. Amy Molly delivers a powerful performance.” Paul Ewing, Paul in London
“Timothy Knightley is impressive.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Timothy Knightley – a remarkable performance.” Edward Lukes, Once a Week Theatre
“Ota is excellent – bright, confident with a hint of cynical bemusement.” Peter Yates, London Theatre 1
“Ably played by Mark Ota.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Mark Ota is chilling.” Paul Ewing, Paul in London
“Amy Molloy is extremely powerful.” Peter Yates, London Theatre 1
“Amy Molloy is quietly impressive.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Beautifully played by Amy Molloy.” Jeff Prestridge, Prestridge Squared
“The engrossing Amy Molloy.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Amy Molloy incredibly moving.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up
“Staight’s sharp production.” Alex Ramon, The Reviews Hub
“Georgie Staight directs with great clarity a sombrely haunting play that reminds us of past crimes and exposes the high price paid by the individual for uncovering historical injustice.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“The direction from Georgie Staight is impeccable throughout aided by Matt Cater’s lighting.” Edward Lukes, Once a Week Theatre
“Directed with aplomb by Georgie Staight.” Jeff Prestridge, Prestridge Squared
“Neatly directed by Georgie Staight.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“Hats of to the Finborough for staging it, and staging it so well. Truly, tiny but mighty.” Daniel Nelson, One World
“The setting is elegantly minimalist.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide
“Matt Cater’s lighting design quietly strengthens the dream and imagination sequences.” David Weir, London Pub Theatres
“Enhanced by an atmospheric sound design by Benjamin Winter.” Paul Hegarty, Theatre Bubble
“A tense, brooding sound design by Benjamin Winter.” Ben Kulvichit, The Stage
“The Finborough reminds us once more of the way in which theatre can inform and be an agent for knowledge and change.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up
“Another fine production from Finborough Theatre.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre
“Once again the Finborough shows its excellent feel for European premieres, revivals of plays, and new writing.” Frey Kwa Hawking, A Younger Theatre
"Witty and suspenseful." San Francisco Examiner on You Mean To Do Me Harm
"Masterful... depth of anger and insecurity and dishonesty that comes up in both of the play’s relationships is astonishing, the level to which Chen is able to take us in such a short time is remarkable." Theater Dogs on You Mean To Do Me Harm
"Lean, mean, and meticulously crafted drama... Chen has always had a strong skill for crafting dialogue, but in this play he seems to have broken through to a new level." Huffington Post on You Mean To Do Me Harm
"Cunningly clever... The feeling is akin to waking up from a dream, only to find oneself in another dream." TheaterMania on Caught
"Christopher Chen’s enjoyably manipulative new play keeps finding ingenious ways to pull the rug out from under the audience’s feet” The New Yorker on Caught
"As smart as it is funny and as challenging as it is intriguing." Theater Dogs on The Late Wedding
"Chen never seems to work on only one level. He twists us into knots all the way down to how we talk about talking about race... a major – and highly entertaining – accomplishment." San Francisco Chronicle on Mutt
“This is proper political theatre: astute, informative and grown-up.” Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage
“A play that confronts our complacency and complicity…. Recommended.” ★★★★ Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
“Extremely engaging.” ★★★★ David Hughes, The Spy in the Stalls
“Georgie Staight directs with brisk economy.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Georgie Staight’s production glides slickly through its scenes from parallel lives.” Sam Marlowe, The Times
“Georgie Staight's simple but intense production.'' Carolin Kopplin, UKTheatre
“Compelling and urgent.” Holly O’Mahony, Exeunt Magazine
“Inventive directing.” British Theatre Guide
Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from 13 January 2018).
Performance Length: Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.
Tickets £16, £14 concessions
£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.
£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 6 January 2018 when booked online only.
Tickets £18, £16 concessions
except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here
PLEASE NOTE THAT LATECOMERS CANNOT BE ADMITTED AND TICKETS CANNOT BE EXCHANGED OR REFUNDED.