Royal & Derngate Northampton and York Theatre Royal, in association with Oxford Playhouse, today announced that their world premiere of Alone in Berlin, translated and adapted for the stage by Alistair Beaton from Hans Fallada’s acclaimed novel, will feature illustrations by Jason Lutes, from his epic graphic novel Berlin and songs by Orlando Gough performed by cabaret singer Jessica Walker.
Charlotte Emmerson, Denis Conway and Joseph Marcell lead an ensemble cast directed by Royal & Derngate’s Artistic Director James Dacre. The production opens in Northampton in February before transferring to York and Oxford.
The cast is led by Denis Conway and Charlotte Emmerson as Otto and Anna Quangel and Joseph Marcell as Inspector Escherich. Denis recently played opposite Aidan Turner in Michael Grandage’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore and is known from his extensive work at Dublin’s Gate Theatre and onscreen in The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Brooklyn and Oliver Stone’s Alexander. Charlotte’s many credits include title roles in Marianne Elliot’s Therese Raquin (National Theatre) and Laurie Sansom’s The Duchess of Malfi (Royal & Derngate) and leads in Chekhov’s major plays in productions directed by Peter Stein, Lucy Bailey and Trevor Nunn.
Joseph Marcell was last seen at Royal & Derngate in King John. His numerous credits for Shakespeare’s Globe include the title role King Lear, and he is known by many from the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The cast also includes Abiola Ogunbiyi (Jamestown, Sky One; Girls, Soho Theatre; The Book of Mormon, West End), Jay Taylor (Nell Gwynn and Wolf Hall in the West End), Julius D’Silva (The Crown, Netflix; The Producers, Manchester Royal Exchange) and regular Complicite Theatre Company collaborator Clive Mendus.
The production is designed by three-time Tony nominee Jonathan Fensom with lighting design by UK Theatre Award winner Charles Balfour, sound design and composition by Donato Wharton (Three Sisters, National Theatre and numerous collaborations with Katie Mitchell and Robert Lepage), video design by Nina Dunn (Plenty, Copenhagen and Fiddler on the Roof, Chichester Festival Theatre), associate direction by Sarah Stacey (Our Lady of Kibeho and The Pope, Royal & Derngate) and fight direction by R.C. Annie.
Set in 1940, the play is a gripping portrait of life in wartime Berlin and a vividly theatrical study of how paranoia can warp a society gripped by the fear of the night-time knock on the door. Based on true events, Alone in Berlin follows a quietly courageous couple who stand up to the brutal reality of the Nazi regime. With the smallest of acts, they defy Hitler’s rule – facing the gravest of consequences.
This timely story of the moral power of personal resistance follows Otto and Anna as they negotiate the insidious effects of absolute power on every aspect of daily life. When they decide to make a stand in their own unique way, the Gestapo launch a terrifying hunt for the perpetrators. Otto and Anna find themselves players in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the forces of the state – a game that will eventually lead them down through ever-narrowing circles of totalitarian hell.
Described by Primo Levi as “the greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis”, book sales for Alone in Berlin entered the bestseller list again three years ago – almost unheard of for a 20th century literary classic – as its themes began to resonate across the world once more. Regularly adapted for stage productions across Europe, this will be the first time Fallada’s masterpiece has been seen on a British stage.
Alone in Berlin is part of Royal & Derngate’s Made in Northampton season.
For more information, visit the theatre’s website www.royalandderngate.co.uk
Photo credit: Geraint Lewis