Press Night: Thursday 10th December, 7.30pm
To mark the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth, Sean Turner and the Old Red Lion, in close association with the Miller Trust, are proud to present the World Premiere of the until now long-lost first play of one of America’s greatest dramatists and political icons.
Over six days during spring break 1936 at the University of Michigan, a twenty year old college sophomore wrote his first play, No Villain. His aim was to win the prestigious Avery Hopwood award and, more importantly, the $250 prize he needed in order to return to college the following year. Miller won the award, and the subsequent one, but the play was never produced – until now.
No Villain tells the story of a garment industry strike that sets a son against his factory proprietor father. Here, Miller explores the Marxist theory that would see him hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee years later.
This remarkable debut play gives us a tantalising glimpse of Miller’s early life, the seeding of his political values and the beginning of his extraordinary career. Miller commented, My first attempt at a play, rather inevitably, had been about industrial action and a father and his two sons, the most autobiographical dramatic work I would ever write.
Director Sean Turner comments, Arthur Miller is an idol of mine and I am indescribably proud to have the chance to present a World Premiere of one of his works. It took me eighteen months of research to discover the play and I am delighted that we will present its first outing in this centenary year of his birth. No Villain is a vital addition to the Miller repertoire and gives us a vivid autobiographical glimpse of his youth.
In association with this production, Miller’s 100th Birthday will be celebrated at the Old Red Lion on 19th October where four upcoming writers (Jessica Sian, Sevan K Greene, Felix O’Brien and Elizabeth Rutherford-Johnson) have been asked to write short plays in response to one of Miller’s big four plays. In addition, renowned director Sir Richard Eyre will be ‘in conversation’ about his friend and colleague Arthur Miller at the Old Red Lion on 26th October.