Lucy Kirkwood Play Directed by James MacDonald
On November 28, 2017, The Children began previews at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The play is written by Olivier Award winning playwright Lucy Kirkwood, who is making her Broadway debut with this production. Kirkwood is an accomplished young British writer, whose most recent play, Mosquitoes, premiered at London’s National Theatre in 2017, and whose other plays include Chimerica (2013), which won the Olivier Award for Best New Play and the Evening Standard Award for Best New Play, as well as NSFW, which played the Royal Court in 2012, It Felt Empty When The Heart Went At First But It Is Alright Now, Tinderbox, and Guns or Butter. As for her screen work, she is the creator of a drama series The Smoke for Sky 1, and also writes for the Company Pictures series Skins. As for The Children, that play had its world premiere at London’s prestigious Royal Court Theatre in November 2016, starring Ron Cook, Francesca Annis, and Deborah Findlay, and directed by James MacDonald (Top Girls). The Broadway production is an intact transfer of this Royal Court production, which the same cast and creative team.
While it usually takes Hollywood movie stars to sell tickets to plays on Broadway, the London theatre scene is different, with more value placed on excellent trained actors who have built their careers on the stage. This production of The Children features three actors who are not particularly well-known in the States, but whose careers are certainly admirable. In the role of Rose is Francesca Annis, who has previously appeared on Broadway as Gertrude in the 1995 production of Hamlet, directed by Jonathan Kent as a transfer from the Almeida in London, and also as Ophelia in the 1969 production of Hamlet, directed by Tony Richardson. She is also a six-time BAFTA TV Award nominee, and won that award in 1979 for the show Lillie, with additional screen credits including Krull, Dune, and The Debt Collector. Meanwhile, in the role of Robin is Ron Cook, whose only previous Broadway credit was yet another production of Hamlet, the 2009 Donmar Warehouse production directed by Michael Grandage, when he played Polonius and the First Gravedigger. Cook’s screen credits include Quills, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Secrets & Lies, and 102 Dalmatians. Finally, in the role of Hazel is Deborah Findlay, who previously appeared on Broadway in the 1997 production of Stanley. Her screen credits include the TV series The Last Train, State of Play, The Armstrong and Miller Show, and Children of Earth.
Three Nuclear Engineers Reunite in a Remote Cottage
The Children is the story of three retired nuclear engineers, Rose, Robin, and Hazel, who reunite in a remote cottage on the British coast after a long time apart. Meanwhile, the world outside is in the midst of a great disaster, and the retirees are faced with the choice of doing something about it, or letting the world dissipate around them. The story that ensues raises questions about who is responsible for our world and what a solution could possibly be. Exploring themes of sacrifice, truth, and environmental issues, a memorable line from the play lends the show its title, as one character suggests it is most necessary to think of their children – not even specifically these characters’ children, but the future children of our world who will need to fend with the environment left by previous careless generations. The show has its official opening night on December 12, 2017, and is currently scheduled to run for a limited engagement until February 4, 2018.
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