'Slumdog' helmer to make National Theater debut
Oscar-winning helmer Danny Boyle and former National Theater artistic directors Peter Hall and Richard Eyre will stage plays at the U.K. drama powerhouse this season, a.d. Nicholas Hytner announced Thursday.Boyle’s NT debut production will be “Frankenstein,” adapted from Mary Shelley’s novella by playwright-screenwriter Nick Dear. Prior to breaking out in film with “Shallow Grave” and “Trainspotting,” Boyle had a theatrical career that included highly regarded productions at the Royal Court and Royal Shakespeare Company and the world premiere of Anthony Minghella’s “Two Planks and a Passion.” The “Slumdog Millionaire” helmer has been in discussions with Hytner ever since the latter arrived at the NT in April 2003. He told Hytner that he’s looking forward to his return to theater “after being distracted for 15 years by the movies.” Set for an unspecified date next winter, “Frankenstein” is likely to be filmed for NT Live, the theater’s international HD screening initiative. Peter Hall will celebrate his 80th birthday by helming “Twelfth Night” in the smaller Cottesloe space, with his daughter Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”) as Viola. That production is also skedded for next winter. The season also sees Donmar Warehouse a.d. Michael Grandage’s NT debut with Georg Buchner’s classic “Danton’s Death” in a new version by Howard Brenton, with Toby Stephens in the title role. Originally set to open in 2009, the production was postponed when Grandage took over directing Jude Law in “Hamlet” following Kenneth Branagh’s withdrawal to helm the movie “Thor.” Other classic revivals include Marianne Elliott’s production of Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean tragedy “Women Beware Women,” starring Harriet Walter (“Mary Stuart”) and Samuel Barnett (“The History Boys”). Hytner will direct “Hamlet,” starring Rory Kinnear, with Clare Higgins as Gertrude, while Thea Sharrock (“Equus”) will revive Terence Rattigan’s rarely seen “After the Dance” ahead of the 2011 Rattigan centenary. The new play slate includes Matthew Dunster’s premiere of Drew Pautz’s “Love the Sinner,” examining sexuality in the Church of England, and Rupert Goold’s production of Mike Bartlett’s “Earthquakes in London,” in a co-production with Goold’s Headlong theater company. Howard Davies will helm an as-yet-untitled play by J.T. Rogers, while Handspring Puppet Company, the team behind NT smash “War Horse,” will devise a new play with helmer Neil Bartlett. The National will also host a transfer of a double bill of little-seen American plays, following its successful run at the Royal and Derngate Theater, Northampton: Laurie Sansom’s production of Eugene’s O’Neil’s “Beyond the Horizon” and Tennessee Williams’ “Spring Storm,” opening in the Cottesloe April 7.