The Summer Season at the Finborough Theatre continues with rediscoveries of EVENTS WHILE GUARDING THE BOFORS GUN and MERRIE ENGLAND. Commemorating the tenth anniversary of the death of playwright John McGrath, and unseen in a professional production in London since 1966, John McGrath's Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun opens at the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre for a limited four-week season from tonight, 22 May 2012 directed by Robert Hastie. Merrie England plays at the Finborough Theatre for a limited run of nine Sunday and Monday evening performances and Tuesday matinees, opening on Sunday, 27 May 2012.
The first London production in over 45 years of EVENTS WHILE GUARDING THE BOFORS GUN by John McGrath will be directed by Robert Hastie.
"It is an inefficient and obsolete weapon, sirs, of which our Army has many thousands: and you have, in your wisdom, asked me to guard it with my life, thinking that I would indeed do anything, anything, to preserve and shelter from all harm, a thing so beautifully useless, so poignantly past it, so wistfully outdated, as my youth, or a Bofors gun. I would, and I shall, lay down my life for it."
Germany, 1954. A bitterly cold winter in the early years of the Cold War. In a wind-swept corner of a British Army base, six soldiers are posted to guard an obsolete anti-aircraft gun. Their task is futile and the gunners know it. Placed under the command of an inexperienced teenager, their boredom turns to frustration and their thoughts turn to trouble as the banter and squabbles of the barrack room harden into a battle of wills between the callow NCO and a disillusioned fighting man with his finger on the self-destruct button...
Directed by acclaimed emerging director Robert Hastie, John McGrath's startling, darkly comic depiction of young men coming to terms with a new, inhuman era of warfare is based on his own experience of National Service in the 1950s. Originally produced at Hampstead Theatre in 1966 with a cast including James Bolam, Barry Jackson and Brian Murphy, Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun was filmed in 1968 by Jack Gold as The Bofors Gun, starring David Warner, Ian Holm, Nicol Williamson and John Thaw.
Director Robert Hastie was Associate Director for Sixty-Six Books which opened the new Bush Theatre where he also directed the world premieres of In The Land of Uz by Neil LaBute, The Middle Man by Anthony Weigh, David and Goliath by Andrew Motion, Snow In Sheffield by Helen Mort and A Lost Expression by Luke Kennard. He was Associate Director of Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate (Novello Theatre). He co-founded The Lamb Players, for whom he has co-directed As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice. He has assisted Josie Rourke, Peter Gill and Laurie Sansom, and is an Associate Artist of the National Youth Theatre and a Connections Director for The National Theatre Connections programme. Robert originally trained as an actor at RADA, and his acting credits include work at The National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company, with Cheek by Jowl, Frantic Assembly and Headlong, and in the West End.