A volume of four new plays as part of the RSC’s Midsummer Mischief by Alice Birch, E. V. Crowe, Timberlake Wertenbaker and Abi Zakarian.
The writers had the famous quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “Well-behaved women seldom make history” as an initial provocation and each writer has responded to this line in a unique and distinctive way.
The Ant and the Cicada by Timberlake Wertenbaker
A mysterious investor has set his sights on a prime piece of Greek real estate. Owned by two sisters whose lives and beliefs are at odds, and with debts rising all the time, the property's future is uncertain. In a Greek tragedy, everybody loses.
Through the struggle between two very different sisters for control of their family home, Timberlake Wertenbaker's new play explores why we are willing to let the home of art and democracy crumble as the rest of Europe looks on.
Revolt. She said. Revolt again. by Alice Birch
Alice Birch examines the language, behaviour and forces that shape women in the 21st century and asks what's stopping us from doing something truly radical to change them.
I can hear you by E. V. Crowe
Tommy is dead. It's always tragic when they die young. People have posted loads of nice stuff on his Facebook page. His sister Ruth has returned for the funeral and wants to get it just right. Proper cutlery and a good spread. The send-off he deserved, and certainly better than they managed when mum died. The following Sunday Ruth's plans to leave again are interrupted as the doorbell rings and in walks a still very much dead, Tommy.
E. V. Crowe's naturalistic supernatural play examines what the possibilities are for the women in Tommy's family, and questions if it's as easy for everyone to reveal what it is they want.
This Is Not an Exit by Abi Zakarian
You wake up, tied to a radiator. Your hands are bound and there is a bag over your head. You know you should fight, but you don't know how or against whom. But you can't have it all: where would you put it? Abi Zakarian's new play is a funny and ferocious drama about the absurdity at the heart of modern womanhood, and what really stands in the way of fulfilment.
Timberlake Wertenbaker is herself an eminent playwright. In 1985 The Royal Court staged her 'The Grace of Mary Traverse' which won her the Plays and Players Most Promising Playwright Award. She also received the 1988 Olivier Award for Play of the Year for 'Our Country's Good'.
Alice Birch is the winner of the Arts Foundation Award for Playwriting 2014, the co-winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright 2014 and was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award in 2012 and 2015. Theatre includes: Anatomy of a Suicide (Royal Court), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (RSC/Soho Rep NYC), Ophelias Zimmer (Royal Court/Schaubuhne Theater Berlin), We Want You to Watch (National Theatre), Little Light (Orange Tree), Little on the inside (Almeida/Clean Break) and Many Moons (Theatre 503). Film includes Lady Macbeth (BBC/BFI/Creative England) which was the winner of the International Critic’s Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) at San Sebastian Film Festival 2016, the Best First Feature at Zurich Film Festival 2016 and the winner of Best Screenplay at Turin Film Festival 2016.
E. V. Crowe has an MA in Creative Writing from UEA. She was a member of the Royal Court Theatre YWP 2005, and ‘Commissioned Writers Group 2009/2011’. Has been on attachment to the Royal Court Theatre, Summer 2007; National Theatre Studio, Summer 2010 and 2011. Previous work includes, Kin (Royal Court Theatre, 2010), ROTOR (Siobhan Davies Studios, 2010), Doris Day (Clean Break at Soho Theatre, 2010) A Just Act (Clean Break, 2009), Number 1 and Community Hall (Bush Theatre, Wraparound response and Election short); One Runs the Other Doesn’t (Royal Court Rough Cuts, 2010). She is currently developing a new play for the Schauspiel Theatre, Frankfurt through the National Theatre Studio.
Abi Zakarian is the author of six full-length plays including A Thousand Yards and Swifter, Higher, Stronger; she is one of the playwrights-in-residence for the Schoolwrights scheme in East London.