• Saturday, December 02, 2023


‘Life of Pi’ lead actor cast in ‘The Father and the Assassin’

The role of Nathuram Godse will be played this time by Hiran Abeysekara, who won Eastern Eye’s ACTA for best actor for being Pi Patel in Life of Pi earlier this year

By: Amit Roy

THE Father and the Assassin, which was staged at the National Theatre in May last year – and won Indhu Rubasingham Eastern Eye’s Art Culture and Theatre Award (ACTA) for best director – is returning later this year.

Written by Anupama Chandrasekhar, the play looks at Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948, from the point of view of his killer, Nathuram Godse. The role, taken by Shubham Saraf last year, will be played this time by Hiran Abeysekara, who won Eastern Eye’s ACTA for best actor for being Pi Patel in Life of Pi earlier this year.

There will also be a new play based on the Grenfell fire tragedy of June 14, 2017.

Artistic director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, said: “The play, Grenfell: in the words of survivors, is the work of the novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo, who spent five years gaining the confidence of community members and recording their accounts of the disaster in north Kensington which killed 72 people. When Gillian first approached me about the play shortly after the tragedy, we were  both resolute in our belief that this story of national significance needed to be told on a national stage. Rehearsals are well underway… and while the inquiry takes its a long course, the injustices and insight brought to life through Gillian’s years of conversations with the bereaved and survivors serve as a compelling and hugely significant story of our time.”

Norris gave details of a dozen new plays that will be staged over the next 12 months.

He announced: “So, beginning in February, we’ll open with a new play by Tim Price called Nye. It’s a major new work on the life of Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan and his battle to create the National Health Service.

“I’m very lucky to be the person directing it and equally lucky to welcome back Michael Sheen, who will play Nye. After the turmoil of recent years, I’m certain we all appreciate how vital the NHS is at a time when it remains under intense pressure. It does seem resonant to illuminate the life of its founder and its celebrated centrality within our British life.”

Other works in the pipeline include William Shakespeare’s Roman tragedy, Coriolanus; Alexander Zeldin’s The Confessions, which “charts the course of one life from birth to death”; Alice Birch’s radical adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s modern masterpiece, The House of Bernarda Alba; Kin, “this provocative tale of desperation, compassion and acceptance inspired by migration stories”; and Dear Octopus, a “tender and touching portrayal of a family on the eve of World War Two”.

There will also be London Tide, based on Our Mutual Friend, the last completed novel by Charles Dickens, “a gothic masterpiece of murder, redemption, love and money”; Death of England: Closing Time, the last in the series “exploring family dynamics, race, colonialism and cancel culture”; Infinite Life, a “surprisingly funny inquiry into the complexity of suffering and what it means to desire in a body that’s failing you”; Beth Steel’s Till the Stars Come Down, directed by Bijan Sheibani, “a passionate, heart-breaking and hilarious portrayal of a larger-than-life family who are struggling to come to terms with a changing world”; Underdog: The Other Other Brontë, an “irreverent retelling of the lives of the Brontës, looking behind the legend to tell the story of the sibling power dynamics that shaped their uneven rise to fame”; and Katori Hall’s The Hot Wing King, directed by Roy Alexander Weise, “a story

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