The Meetings and Meditations of Great Minds Featured in Canadian Premiere of Acclaimed Play
Lives of Auden and Britten brought to life in Canadian adaptation of celebrated British play.
COQUITLAM, BC, CANADA, September 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- It's a question not often pondered in an age where the focus is consistently on the 'next big thing': how does the creative mind change as one moves through passages of life? The answer to that question has been masterfully examined by acclaimed British playwright, Alan Bennett in The Habit of Art, which will see its Canadian Premiere this September under the skilful direction of experienced director, actor, and award winning author, William B. Davis.
The play centers around two creative giants, the acclaimed poet, W.H. Auden, and composer Benjamin Britten. While the two had had a lengthy professional relationship—having collaborated on a not insubstantial number of musical works—they had parted ways rather dramatically. The Habit of Art picks up some 25 years later with an account of a fictional reunion.
The witty and thoughtful play was previously mounted by The Royal National Theatre (featuring the late Richard Griffiths) and broadcast internationally to great acclaim. Davis explains its appeal:
"The Habit of Art is one of those rare pieces that is self-reflective in a way that serves to educate and entertain the audience while being profoundly thought-provoking. The play is set as a rehearsal at The National Theatre and balances the play within a play with humorous and loving insights into the inner workings of a major international theatre company, coincidentally a company of which I was once a member. At its core the play asks what is art, what is an artist, and who is left out.
"It was really irresistible for me as a director. While the crux of the play centers around real-life characters—both Auden and Britten approaching the ends of their careers and lives—the way the script approaches poetry, music, theatre, sex, relationships speaks to us all, whether we have ever heard of Auden or Britten or not.
"It's a challenging play to mount, to say the least, but that's part of what attracted me to it. With a rehearsal in the middle of the stage, and characters moving in and out in different levels of reality, the staging requirements can be bewildering."
It is equally challenging to perform, with the lead actors playing the roles of protagonists Britten and Auden as well as the role of the actors portraying them in the fictionalized play. To answer that challenge, Davis cast talented actors Murray Price and John Prowse, respectively, alongside an impressive supporting cast.
The Habit of Art runs from September 6-29th (with preview September 5th) at United Players of Vancouver Theatre Company, Jericho Arts Centre (1675 Discovery St. Vancouver). For more information and tickets visit http://www.unitedplayers.com or call 604-224-8007, ext. 2.
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