Opening on Thursday 22 April at Southbank Theatre, Joanna Murray-Smith’s brand new play, Berlin, is a riveting romantic thriller that pits the dark shadow of history against the dazzling promise of true love.
Starring Grace Cummings (Prehistoric) and Michael Wahr (Shakespeare in Love), and directed by Iain Sinclair (A View from the Bridge), this MTC NEXT STAGE commission weaves a universal story of youthful passion into a nail-biting game of philosophical cat and mouse that will keep you guessing to the very end.
Iain Sinclair said, ‘This is Joanna Murray-Smith in her element. I have been a longtime admirer of Joanna’s lethal combination of stagecraft, passion and fierce intelligence. Her intellectual courage and philosophical ambition is truly on show in this two-hander tour de force; a rare and powerful blend of thriller, romance and a serious ethical dilemma. When it comes to inherited guilt: what is enough? Or more importantly, when is enough?’
About the play: Tom is an Australian abroad. Charlotte, a Berliner through and through. After meeting in a bar, sparks fly between them and she invites him to spend the night at her place. As they navigate the ritual of seduction, their desire gives way to secrets that cannot be ignored and questions neither of them can answer. Does young love stand a chance against the suffocating reach of the past?
For 30 years, Joanna Murray-Smith has been writing plays that have been produced and translated all over the world, in over two dozen languages, including on Broadway, the West End and at the Royal National Theatre in London. Joanna has worked across many forms, from plays to novels, journalism, opera libretti and screen plays. Her plays include Three Little Words, Switzerland, Pennsylvania Avenue, True Minds, Songs for Nobodies, Day One-A-Hotel-Evening, The Gift, Rockabye, The Female of the Species, Ninety, Bombshells and Flame (MTC); L’Appartement (Queensland Theatre); American Song (Red Stitch); Fury (Sydney Theatre Company); Rapture, Nightfall, Redemption, Love Child and Honour (Malthouse Theatre). Joanna has also adapted Hedda Gabler (for the State Theatre Company of South Australia) and Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage for Sir Trevor Nunn (Coventry/London). She has been nominated for and won many awards.
Iain Sinclair previously directed for MTC A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller and The Beast by Eddie Perfect. For Sydney Theatre Company, Mojo by Jez Butterworth, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca (translation by Iain Sinclair) and Our Town by Thornton Wilder. For Queensland Theatre, Brisbane by Matthew Ryan. For Belvoir, The Seed by Kate Mulvany, Killer Joe by Tracey Letts, Beyond the Neck by Tom Holloway and My Arm by Tim Crouch. For the Eternity Theatre, All My Sons by Arthur Miller and for NIDA, Lost Illusions by Alana Valentine. He was director of dramaturgy for Playwriting Australia and chair of the NSW Premiers Literary Awards for playwriting. Iain was a recipient of the Stuart Wagstaff Award for Most Outstanding Direction and holds a Master’s degree from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King’s College London. He is Head of Acting at 16th Street Actors Studio in Melbourne.
Berlin was commissioned through MTC’s NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program, supported by the donors, foundations and organisations of MTC’s Playwrights Giving Circle.