Canal Café Theatre and Russell Lucas present
The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck
Canal Café Theatre, Delamere Terrace, Little Venice, London W2 6ND
Tuesday 21st February – Saturday 11th March 2017
Press Night: Thursday 23rd February, 7pm
Originally a smash Off-Broadway hit, the UK premiere of Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck’s The Understudy, directed by Russell Lucas, now comes to Canal Café Theatre. For the first time, the theatre will be transformed to the round.
Staged as part of Canal Café’s American Season, The Understudy is a dazzling and humanistic look at people trying to do what they love in the face of never-ending obstacles.Full of laugh-out-loud comedy and vivacious satire, The Understudy dissects the backstage friction of a frenzied understudy rehearsal of a long lost Kafka play about to be staged on Broadway.
Charged with running the rehearsal, Roxanne finds her professional and personal lives colliding when Harry, a jobbing actor, is cast as understudy to Jake, a mid-level action star yearning for legitimacy. As Harry and Jake find their common ground, Roxanne tries to navigate the rehearsal with a stoned lighting board operator, an omnipresent intercom system, the producers threatening to close the show and her own mixed feelings about both actors and her past. Will the show go on?
Director Russell Lucas, comments
I am very excited for our second play in The American Season. This is not only an incredible scoop for Canal Cafe Theatre, but for the London theatre scene. This comedic love letter to the theatre is all set in an understudy rehearsal of a Broadway production. Two actors duel; the stage manager referees.
Rebeck captures the wistful nature of the understudy’s role, waiting in the wings for a shot that will likely never come (The Mercury News).
…deliver[s] a clever indictment of contemporary theatre while making the characters’ personal circumstances ever more Kafkaesque: They are no more in control of the forces of celebrity, art, money and Broadway than they are of their own fates (The New Yorker).
The Understudy is part of Canal Café’s America: Past, Present and Future season which opened with Driving Miss Daisy in autumn 2016. The season will conclude with a brand new commissioned play