Untitled play's run is entirely sold out
The hottest ticket in London this fall is also the most mysterious: Mike Leigh‘s new play, which opens in repertory at the National Theater’s Cottesloe auditorium Sept. 15 and so far has no name. (A title is promised by the first preview, Sept. 8.)Since his last play, “It’s a Great Big Shame,” premiered at the Theater Royal, Stratford East, in 1992, Leigh has seen his bigscreen career take off via such Oscar-friendly films as “Secrets and Lies,” “Topsy-Turvy” and “Vera Drake.” Leigh describes film as “my first love and first passion and commitment,” but he trained at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in experimental theater during the 1970s. The problem with discussing any new Leigh play is obvious to those who know his singular methodology, whatever the medium: The writer-director brings actors together without a script, which then is fashioned during lengthy rehearsals (an amazing 16 weeks, in the case of this play). All that’s known about the new piece is that its eight-person cast, headed by “Topsy-Turvy’s” Allan Corduner and Samantha Spiro, is entirely Jewish (as is Leigh), and that they have been rehearsing away from the National, adding to the secrecy. “I’ve nothing to say about it,” Leigh tells Variety. “The play doesn’t exist; we’re still discovering it, (so) you can’t start talking about it when you’re in the process of discovering what it is.” That “process” clearly is attractive: The run through Jan. 31 is sold out.